Newsom, Obama and the Gay Weddings of 2004: A Slight Revision of History

I don’t know, it seems San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom is a little hacked off these days because President Barack Obama didn’t want the two of them to be photographed together back in 2004, a time when Gavin was seen as uniquely emblematic of the marriage equality issue. Barack didn’t want photos of the two of them together on the Associated Press wire available for publication in every podunk newspaper all over the country – he didn’t want to deal with that issue.  

All right, fair enough. But I can recall a time when Gavin himself was hacked off over a certain photograph depicting marriage equality being on the AP wire.  

Leave us travel back to aught-four, when gay weddings were going on all over City Hall. At the time, some folks from Room 200 were very sensitive about the idea of the Mayor being photographed or filmed while he himself was officiating weddings. For whatever reason.

So when he agreed, as a courtesy, to officiate the wedding of a couple of blondes in his elegant office*, the press was emphatically banned despite the fact that they (quite reasonably) felt that they were invited to the ceremony. The media were forced to bide their time waiting just outside the Mayor’s Office.

And this was the scene of the scrum in the hallway afterwards. You might find Waldo in there, but not Gavin: 

But look, here he is officiating the ceremony just five minutes before:

This particular photo was processed, emailed, released to the AP, and published in podunk newspapers within hours, to the consequent consternation of the mayor’s people. It seems perfectly cromulent now but, at the time, this kind of scene was seen by some as Too Hot For Publication. 

Of course that certainly was a bold move Gavin made in 2004, no doubt about it. I’ll tell you, back in the 1990′s I took a course from a local professor who, in 2003, strongly supported and volunteered for Gavin’s brainy opponent in that year’s mayoral election. But soon thereafter, said professor’s opinion of Mayor Newsom did a 180 solely because of the marriage equality issue - the prof. would go on and on about how much he appreciated Gavin’s actions, and later on, he actually supported Gavin’s reelection (along with the good bulk of everybody else) in 2007.

So nobody doubts the mayor of San Francisco really stuck his neck out on this issue back in the day. But students of history should be foregiven if they can’t square their memories of 2004 100% with what’s being said in 2010.

Just saying.

*Hello, Maureen’s fact-checkers in New Yawk? Starting up a boutique wine shop in Napa Valley” makes about as much sense as opening a coal shop in Newcastle. How about a Napa Valley wine shop in San Francisco – that would be a lot closer to the mark. Just saying.

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2 Responses to “Newsom, Obama and the Gay Weddings of 2004: A Slight Revision of History”

  1. Anonymous says:

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  2. sfcitizen says:

    Shouldn’t you be in school, little boy?

    Oh wait, you are:

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