Several gay and lesbian couples disrupted business at San Francisco’s city hall Friday morning. The couples entered the city clerk’s office asking for something they knew they couldn’t get … a marriage license.

“We love each other and we want the rights that everyone else gets. I don’t want if I die that she can’t get my Social Security or come take my house because we’re not legally married,” said Linda Gates who attended the protest with her partner Betty.

During the demonstration, heterosexual couples, including Mario Caballeros and his fiancé Jessica from Richmond, were told to come back later.

“That just sucks. They can pick another time and another reason or do it the right way,” said Caballeros. “Just taking up peoples’ time. We have to wait just for them to get their little word out? That’s not cool, you know?”

Protesters sang and chanted until sheriff’s deputies ordered them to disperse. Thirteen protesters who refused to leave were detained for just a few minutes, then released without being charged.

Photos by Gina Scialabba

  • Thom Watson

    As my same-sex fiance and I, and other loving committed couples like us, walked down the hallway today to the clerk’s office, we passed several heterosexual couples waiting to marry, and we wished them all congratulations, sincerely and wholeheartedly. We understand how eager they are to marry; we are too.

    I regret Mr. Caballeros felt inconvenienced by my lack of equality, and had to wait a few extra minutes to receive his marriage license today while my fiance and I were being turned down as we asked for ours. Mr. Caballeros and his fiancee Jessica, nonetheless, will have been able actually to marry as soon as 30 minutes later, if they wished. My fiance and I, though, who have been together ten years, have been waiting for over four years for the same right to marry Mr. Caballeros already enjoys and will continue to enjoy. Jeff and I left the office without the opportunity provided to Mr. Caballeros to come back a little later. In fact, we are still waiting.

    When would Mr. Caballeros have considered it a good time for us to ask for our equality, precisely?

Author

Scott Shafer

Scott migrated to KQED in 1998 after extended stints in politics and government. Now he covers those things and more as host of the California Report and Senior Correspondent for KQED Newsroom. When he's not asking questions you'll often find him in a pool playing water polo. Find him on Twitter @scottshafer

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