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Just 35 days into office, San Francisco's newly elected Mayor Gavin Newsom, with his strong belief that all people should be treated on a non-discriminatory manner, launched the new civil rights movement of the millennium.On February 12, 2004, at 11:06 a.m., following the orders of the mayor, San Francisco's Assessor-Recorder Mabel Teng presided over the marriage of two icons of the lesbian movement, Del Martin, 83, and Phyllis Lyon, 79. By inserting the words "applicant one" and "applicant two" in place of "bride" and "groom", Del and Phyllis became the first same-sex couple to be married in the United States, thus changing the way America looks at marriage.Soon after the weddings, President George Bush called on Congress to promptly pass an amendment defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman, asserting that same-sex marriages defy "more than two centuries of American jurisprudence and millennia of human experience." He warns that such unions in San Francisco and other communities threaten "the most fundamental institution of civilization."Following this historic ceremony, thousands of same-sex couples rushed to San Francisco City Hall to wed. Those opposed to same-sex unions fought back, stating that Mayor Newsom was defying God's Law, as well as the laws of the state. They called on all people in favor of traditional marriage, as well as all Christians, to take a stand and protect marriage, what they believe to be one of the United States' most sacred institutions.As Rosie O'Donnell and her partner Kelli Carpenter travel to San Francisco to wed, protestors call the actions of Mayor Newsom political anarchy; demand that he step down, and that the weddings stop. As we watch the touching ceremony between Rosie and Kelli, the euphoria at San Francisco's civil altar hits an all-time high.San Francisco's actions sent a shockwave, which reverberated across the nation. Other civic leaders who tried similar tactics where immediately met by strong resistance. The issue reached a critical point when it became a topic in the 2004 Presidential Race.The excitement continued to build until, March 11, 2004, when at 2:33pm, the justices of California Supreme Court ordered an immediate halt to same-sex weddings. The debate continues across the country.On August 12, 2004, the Justices of the California Supreme Court voided all 3,955 marriage licenses and disrupted the relationships created by Mayor Newsom's edict.The issue continued to be unresolved. This intense film takes viewers to the heart of civil rights issues revealing the social fabric of the country. It shows the profound implications of civil and human rights decisions and presents questions, which are critical to the future of how Americans view values and government.With an exclusive look into San Francisco's new generation of politics, Pursuit of Equality takes its viewers on an exclusive behind-the-scenes journey into private closed-door discussions with Mayor Newsom and his inner circle, as they uproot the status quo and attempt to change the way the nation looks at love, life, and marriage.
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Audience Reviews for Pursuit of Equality
"Pursuit of Equality" is an emotionally resonant documentary about San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples for a short time, starting in February 2004, making a rare courageous stand for a politician.(Admittedly, his political career has not suffered as a result.) As he found out, the change to the forms came rather easily. So, if a single step can start a journey, then this is proof again that a single defiant act can kickstart a movement. The documentary does a great job of detailing these momentous events in human terms, explaining vividly why this is so important to so many people and casting the struggle as part of a larger ongoing civil rights movement.
The opponents who mostly hide behind religion are allowed their say even if some are simply pure bigots. What I want to know is what does one person's love for another have anything to do with curtailing your religious beliefs? And while the Founding Fathers may not have been in favor of gay marriage and universal healthcare, they were definitely in favor of slavery.