June is LGBT Pride month, and bright, new rainbow flags adorn Market Street in anticipation of The City's LGBT Pride Parade and Celebration this weekend.
Before that, another event highly anticipated by the LGBT community may take place: the announcement of the U.S. Supreme Court's decisions on Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act, two barriers to marriage equality for lesbian and gay Californians at the state and national level.
The marriage hurdle has already been jumped, at least at the local level, by two of this year's Pride celebrity grand marshals. Singer-actor Cheyenne Jackson and newscaster Thomas Roberts — who are readying their motorcade wave for the Pride parade — both live in New York, where marriage equality has been in effect since 2011.
Both men married their longtime partners of more than a decade.
Jackson married Monte Lapka, a physicist, that September, soon after the law went into effect. Thomas wed pharmaceuticals executive Patrick Abner a year later.
For Jackson, 37, star of the Broadway musicals "Xanadu" and "Finian's Rainbow," it was particularly sweet to marry in his hometown rather than travel to another state, or even country, as some marriage-bound couple do.
"Early in our relationship, we went down and became domestic partners at town hall to become as connected as we could legally," Jackson recalls. "As soon as marriage was legal, we got our papers and it was definitely more special to be in our home state. We kept it small. It was in the Hamptons, on the beach. Just us, two friends, and our dog."
Things got a bit more elaborate for Roberts, 40, on the big day last fall. As reported in The New York Times, the couple tied the knot with almost 200 friends and family in attendance, including out newsmen Don Lemon of CNN and Sam Champion of ABC, in a ceremony officiated by former Mayor and current California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom.
"We know each other inside and out," the relative newlywed MSNBC anchor says of his husband. "We've been through a lot of highs and a lot of lows in our relationship. We arrived at a marital point — an area where, you know, we're beaten, we're battered, we're bruised, but we're still surviving and thriving, and loving one another — and recognized we were already existing in a marriage. This makes it official, though. This makes it celebratory. This makes our families and friends involved and it's been quite special."
IF YOU GOS.F. Pride Celebration
Where: Civic Center, Polk and Larkin streets, S.F.
When: Noon to 6 p.m. Saturday, noon to 6:30 p.m. Sunday
Admission: $5 donation at gate
Note: The parade begins at 10:30 a.m. Sunday at Market and Beale streets, and continues on Market Street to Eighth Street.