Next week, the U.S. Supreme Court will begin hearing two same-sex marriage cases, DOMA and Proposition 8, the state's ban on gay marriage. Although the court's ruling is not expected until June, it will be a turning point for the gay rights movement if the court reinstates same-sex marriage in California.
As a gesture of support for same-sex couples, the cities of Berkeley, Oakland, and even San Leandro will fly the pride flag from their respective City Halls next Monday and Tuesday, when the hearings begin. We tried to find out what San Francisco is doing to energize the gays next week, but alas, no word back from our busy leaders.
The East Bay Stonewall Democratic Club, an organization that champions LGBT political causes, is behind the flag-flying effort. It didn't take much effort though; The San Leandro City Council unanimously approved a petition to fly the pride flag in place of the city flag next week. San Leandro Mayor Stephen Cassidy didn't hesitate with his comments, saying "Love knows no gender. We will proudly fly the Rainbow Flag as a statement of San Leandro's support for marriage equality for same-sex couples."
Berkeley quickly followed suit.
"I remember in the 1990's when I became the first out gay elected member of the Berkeley City Council, and our official marriage equality endorsement on the Council was a controversial split vote," said City Councilman Kriss Worthington. "Now we gather and unanimously agree to fly the rainbow flag above City Hall in solidarity with LGBT families during the upcoming Supreme Court hearings."
Even Oakland's ever-bumbling Mayor Jean Quan managed to get on board without unintentionally creating controversy. Quan, who said she wants the world to know how Oakland feels about Prop. 8, is hosting a flag-raising ceremony on March 26.
Maybe Mayor Ed Lee is plotting his own gay-supporting event that he has yet to publicize. Or perhaps LGBT street artists, unwilling to be upstaged by our frenemies across the Bay, will sneak into City Hall at night to hang the flag. (That would be amazing, please do that.)