18 people detained during SF marriage protest

February 14, 2011 7:37:14 PM PST
Eighteen people were put in handcuffs and detained by sheriff's deputies in San Francisco Monday afternoon after a sit-in at the county clerk's office. The act of civil disobedience was carried out by gay and lesbian couples to protest same-sex marriage bans in California and other states.

For the past 10 years on this day of love, gay and lesbian couples apply for marriage licenses to protest the state's ban on same-sex marriage. This time in San Francisco the demonstrators decided to kick it up a notch.

It was a tactic out of the 1960s; the protesters sat down to take a stand.

"We are law abiding individuals and its painful and challenging to do this," Molly McKay of Marriage Equality USA said. "We've been coming here for 10 years. We have to stand up for love and equality."

Eighteen people were taken away in handcuffs by the sheriff's deputies

One supporter of the ban on same-sex marriage says people have the right to protest, but marriage should be off limits for gays and lesbians.

"The reality of marriage is that it unites a man and a woman with each other and any children from their marriage, that's what marriage is," Bill May of Catholics for the Common Good said.

There were also heterosexual newlyweds who support sharing the right.

"They finally found their own true love and finally they cannot get married; we are upset, yeah," newlywed Cindy Vong said.

Only once in San Francisco were the couples successful. In 2004, then Mayor Gavin Newsom had the clerk proceed. Those weddings were later invalidated and were the start of a legal battle that continues today.

One couple came all the way from Galveston, Texas to take part in what the gay community calls "Freedom to Marry Day." They did not get a license, but consider their citation a Valentine's Day memento.