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Mar. 2004, ienriquez
Editor's note: On Valentine's Day weekend in February 2004, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, in an act of civil disobedience, began issuing marriage certificates to same-sex couples who requested them. The California Supreme Court ordered a halt to this practice on March 11, 2004.
San Francisco, Thurs., Mar. 11, 2004
When all this began on Valentine's weekend, I felt resentful. I thought I only had that weekend to marry my partner of 5 years. It was simply not an option. Neither of my parents have had a marriage ceremony, and that is the least of the factors that have made my childhood an unusual one. As a child, I dreamed of the day that I would be married and my mother would give me away. There was no way I could just do this without my family or friends present. People said I could always have the ceremony some other time, but that just did not sit well with me. I wanted people that mattered most to me to be there when I got married.
Although no more same-sex licenses could be given out, the doors of City Hall did not close, and we booked a date on the week of our 5-year anniversary in April. It was nearly 7 weeks away, and it gave people enough time to make it here for the occassion. It was difficult to get messages from my friends who had classes, work, or other weddings to attend. What was worse was not to hear from my parents at all. Their absence has nothing to do with my sexuality, but regardless of that, I have been living with a heavy heart for the last few days. Still, the support of my other friends who have taken over the planning and coordination of my big day has helped me move forward in a positive way. After reiterating the importance of my day to the friends who did not take my initial invite seriously, people started changing their plans. Several people had bought their flights to get out here, and things were slowly coming together.
Today I learned that it was not going to be. I did not know what to do. Rosa Parks took a stand against the laws of society and sat in front of the bus, just as Gavin Newsom took a stand and began marrying same-sex couples. A revolution in our country had begun. Now I am told that I cannot have that marriage license and will likely get a refund if my date is cancelled. What am I supposed to do? Have a commitment ceremony? That is the equivalent of being asked to kindly sit at the back of the bus, and that was no longer an option. I attended the rally today and marched with some friends to San Francisco court houses. It was hard to stand amongst the married couples who were chanting and singing silly songs. Some of us in the group did not get our day in City Hall, and I sure did not feel like singing. This is something that means the world to me. It was a childhood dream that I had long awaited despite the belief that it would never come to be. I felt so alone in that crowd, so I went home to be with my partner.
On that bus ride home I came to the only decision I could come to. Whether they like it or not, I will be at City Hall at 8:30 a.m. on April 15, and I will have my ceremony. I do not know how it is going to happen, but I do know that it will happen. Living in this city, I have forgotten that I am a second-class citizen in my own country.
Ian and Ben Enriquez-Rousseau were (nonlegally) married on April 15, 2004, at Dolores Park in San Franciso, California.
Ian Michael Enriquez
Ian Michael Enriquez' writing was first published in 1991 when his article about a violent crime in the Philippines appeared in all but one of the country's papers. He now lives in San Francisco with his husband and their hamster.Got feedback on this page? Share it with the moocat!
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