Debra J. Saunders

By Debra J. Saunders
Monday, June 29, 2015 – Updated 4:43 pm

San Francisco changed America. When then-Mayor Gavin Newsom opened City Hall to same-sex marriages during the 2004 Winter of Love, he had determined to “put a human face on discrimination.” The long line of couples eager to tie the knot appealed to the public’s romantic side. When two people are in love and want to commit to each other for the rest of their lives, activists asked, how can the government say no?

That sentiment permeates Friday’s Supreme Court ruling in favor of same-sex marriage. “In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were,” wrote Justice Anthony Kennedy in an opinion supported by all four justices appointed by a Democrat. “Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law.”

San Francisco spent the weekend celebrating this victory for gay and lesbian couples. For good reason: This gay-friendly city moved public opinion to the point that a majority of Americans supports same-sex marriage. The days and nights of cowering in a closet are over.

Consider how quickly and overwhelmingly public opinion shifted. In 2000, 61 percent of California voters approved a ballot measure that limited marriage to one man and one woman. After Newsom turned City Hall into a chapel of love in 2004, 14 states banned same-sex marriage and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., concluded the San Francisco weddings were “too much, too fast, too soon.” Hillary Rodham Clinton and Sen. Barbara Boxer defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

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