Los Angeles Times

When Gavin Newsom issued marriage licenses in San Francisco, his party was furious. Now, it's a campaign ad

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - It was an iconic image: Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin, longtime partners and lesbian activists, embracing after being wed in San Francisco City Hall. The first same-sex couple in the country to receive a marriage license was joined by city officials and advocates choked with emotion - but not the man who set their nuptials in motion, Gavin Newsom.

Instead, the then-San Francisco mayor was purposefully absent, sitting in his office and anxiously awaiting word that the ceremony had been performed before a court could interfere.

Newsom's decision to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples - just a month into his term - was at once slapdash and choreographed. Almost immediately it spun out of his control. What was meant to be a short-lived act of civil disobedience on Feb. 12,

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