Get engaged! 

Dear Pride Family,

It’s hard to believe that this June will mark ten years since marriage equality became law in California! As we celebrate this important milestone, it’s crucial to reflect on the long and winding journey that brought us here.

In 1948 the California Supreme Court ruled in Perez v. Sharp, a case involving the marriage of a Mexican woman and a Black man, that our state’s ban on interracial marriage violated the US Constitution. The court precedent would go on to influence the United States Supreme Court ruling in Loving v. Virginia in 1967 which would strike down all state statutes prohibiting interracial marriage.

The fight for marriage equality was a marathon, not a sprint. Every February 12th since 1999, on Freedom to Marry Day, same-sex couples would go to their local marriage offices to ask for licenses and the 1,138 federal rights, protections, and responsibilities that came with it. Although they were always turned away, the media attention sparked important conversations that helped change hearts and minds.

In 2004, LGBTQ couples in San Francisco received a surprising victory when then-Mayor Gavin Newsom permitted them to marry, including my husband and I. Although those marriages were not recognized by the state, they set the stage for the 2008 In re Marriage Cases decision by the California Supreme Court, which relied on Perez v. Sharp to bring marriage equality to the state for 153 days until Prop 8 temporarily ended our legal access.

In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court restored the state’s rights with Hollingsworth v. Perry and gave LGBTQ couples access to federal marriage protections with US v. Windsor. These decisions were built upon the foundation laid by Perez and Loving, and ultimately led to the Obergefell v. Hodges ruling by the Supreme Court in 2015, which guaranteed the fundamental right to marry for same-sex couples.

Now, why did I go full history lesson on you?

It’s Black History Month, and it is important to remember that the fight for LGBTQ rights is inextricably linked to the fight for racial justice and gender justice. While these court cases were an important part of our progress, activists, public educators, and grassroots organizers played a vital role in shifting public consciousness.

The courts have been stacked against us threatening our freedom to marry, and a record number of anti-LGBTQ, anti-trans bills sweep the nation. Here at San Diego Pride, we are committed to building power in our community, and as a society, we must continue to work together to support our trans siblings and LGBTQ individuals living in less supportive states. Let’s recommit to the long, intentional, and intersectional work needed to create a better, more free world where we are free to love, live as ourselves, and Thrive!

With Pride,

Fernando Z. López
Pronouns: they/them/theirs
Executive Director
San Diego Pride


About Fernando

Fernando Lopez was the Executive Director of San Diego Pride. Lopez’s years of LGBT advocacy, nonprofit management, public education, diversity consulting, media relations, guest lectures, and organizing have made them a consistent presence ensuring the struggles of the LGBT community are ever visible.