San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee raised the LGBT rainbow flag at City Hall late this morning, ushering in Pride Month and optimism about an upcoming decision on marriage equality from the U.S. Supreme Court.
Standing on the mayor’s balcony at 11 a.m., Lee unfurled the multi-colored flag, about two weeks before the annual Pride parade and accompanying festivities on June 29 and 30.
Following the raising, Lee said he likes this year’s theme of “Embrace, Encourage, Empower” that the pride committee selected.
The mayor said those ideals fit well with the imminent decision by the Supreme Court concerning Proposition 8, California’s ban on same-sex marriage that was voted into law in 2008.
By the end of the month the high court is expected to rule either to uphold the initiative or invalidate it.
“We are on the precipice,” Lee said.
Lee said San Francisco has been a longstanding supporter of the gay community.
“We’ve been doing right by our LGBT community,” he said. “We are always looking out to help each other.”
In 2004 thousands of weddings occurred when then-mayor Gavin Newsom allowed same-sex marriages, and Lee is expecting a similar flood of nuptials depending on the court’s ruling.
“In San Francisco, there’s a sense of freedom that we’ve always had,” Lee said.
Lee said it harkens back to the 1960s, but that the freedom to marry should extend beyond the “island” of acceptance found in San Francisco.
“We’re waiting in anticipation for the U.S. Supreme Court to make a decision,” he said.
The clerk’s office is bracing for hundreds of same-sex weddings in the days following a potential overturning of Proposition 8, and has plans for extra employees and volunteers to handle the load.
The decision is slated to come before the end of June.
The mayor then joined dozens of elected officials, agency heads and other guests at a City Hall pride reception, complete with rainbow-colored napkins.
Sasha Lekach, Bay City News