Just got back from seeing Rosie O'Donnell marry her longtime partner Kelli Carpenter at City hall in San Francisco this afternoon. As I work a $7 cab ride away from City Hall, it seemed relevant to see history in the making, as Rosie brings even more visibility to an issue that 3,300 anonymous gay couples couldn't on their own.
The San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus put together a decent-sized group on short notice, all holding different colored flowers and singing songs such as "American The Beautiful," "We Shall Overcome," and "Going to the Chapel," with the crowd cheering them on and singing along. Lots of spectators, many couples, and even more media were all waiting in anticipation as we sorted out what was occurring.
Acknowledging the "Going to the Chapel" song, Rosie said, "We really did. We got married." Carpenter held the license in her hand throughout the statement.
Rosie and Kelli got their license in Mayor Gavin Newsom's office, then moved to a different room to actually exchange their vows, although both of these events were not open to the public. Several minutes after becoming married, the newlyweds walked down the elegant staircase in City Hall to thunderous applause and the chorus reprising "Going to the Chapel," with the members bopping their flowers back and forth to the beat, which Rosie joined in with as she reached the landing, using a bouquet someone handed her at the top of the stairs.
While they were clearly beaming from the outpouring of the crowd, it seemed obvious this was a political act, civil disobedience from someone who will put a familiar face to gay marriage in newspapers everywhere tomorrow morning. Rosie thanked everyone for coming out, the city for being brave, and she then chastised president Bush for being divisive.
"I want to thank the city of San Francisco for this amazing stance the mayor has taken for all the people here, not just us but all the thousands and thousands of loving, law-abiding couples," Rosie said.
But, being a comedian at heart, Rosie couldn't resist joking that everyone keeps asking them, but there will be no honeymoon. She said they have four kids, all under eight years old, so... there will be no honeymoon anytime soon. She also said that they got on a plane in New York at 5 a.m., flew in explicitly to get married, and had to fly back out an hour later, so they wouldn't get to see much in San Francisco. She mentioned that they had to get back home because tomorrow is parents' day at their kids' school.
After their brief statement, the couple kissed, the flashbulbs ignited, and the couple walked back up the staircase, hand in hand, as the gay men's chorus sang "San Francisco."
San Francisco, open your golden gate
You'll let nobody wait outside your door
San Francisco, here is your wanderin' one
Saying I'll wander no more.
Photo completely stolen from AP, who (one would hope) wouldn't want to go around suing small non-profit gay youth magazines.