On this day 23 years ago, we went to City Hall. It was a Wednesday. Did we take the day off from work? I don’t remember, but we must have. It was a different time. There was no Uber or Lyft, and Muni was barely functional.
In a room scarred with a huge seismic crack in the wall, we signed a piece of paper that afforded us a handful of protections as a couple within the confines of the city of San Francisco. It was, then, the most we could have. As we burst out the doors, though, we were, in our minds, married.
We had just moved in together into a largeish one-bedroom apartment in a neighborhood that at the time was fairly sketchy and would later blossom into a cultural and culinary hotspot. We were young, and had little more to our names than a few pieces of furniture and some lingering student debt. We had each other.
The time was raw and fragile. The city still staggered from the effects of the Loma Prieta earthquake. The specter of AIDS still loomed over the community. Yet the city pushed ever forward, becoming the first major city to enact Domestic Partnership protections for same-sex couples in the country. What we did, we did out of love and commitment, but also as a political act.
As our relationship cemented, so too did our rights. In 2004, we signed yet another piece of paper, extending our protections to the entire state of California, at Mailboxes, Etc., followed by a light lunch at Café Claude before going back to work. It was a day both special and mundane. In 2008, we made honest men of each other in a full-on wedding and a legal marriage. That, too, would turn out to be tenuous in the pursuant years under Prop 8.
Through it all, no matter the definition, we remained one thing: Married. Maybe not in the eyes of the law, or in the eyes of strangers, but that’s never mattered. Our commitment to supporting each other remained constant. We are better together.
Today is our 23rd, 12th and eighth anniversary. We’re taking most of the day off. We’re driving up to the Wine Country, followed by a very romantic stop to pick up 100 pounds of tomatoes to process this weekend. Tonight, we’re being treated to a tasting menu at a very nice restaurant by a very dear friend. The day is both special and mundane.