Fresno Celebrates the Anniversary of Same-Sex Marriage in California

Wednesday, June 17, 2009 marked the one year anniversary of the brief legalization of same-sex marriage in California. Same-sex couples and their supporters met at the historic Water Tower in downtown
Fresno to renew their vows and take group photos. The celebration continued throughout the night at the popular North Tower Circle club and bar where guests were offered complimentary flowers, appetizers, champagne, & cheesecake courtesy of various organizations in the community that support marriage equality. It was a well planned event complete with entertainment by singer Lily Dale Murray and Andalee’s Eastern Sun Dancers.

The history of The North Tower club and bar was a common topic as guests who hadn’t been to the club since its reopening in October of 2008 spoke of the hate inspired arson that literally burned the club to the ground, and remarked at how the establishment has flourished since then. Couples came from all over to share their stories and in that intimate setting, the tales of love, marriage, hurt, pain, and redemption caused one to remember exactly why we as a community continue to come together. One couple drove out from Lemoore and told the story of how they met only two years ago. When asked why they chose to get married the gentleman replied, “We felt like it was now or never, you never know when you are going to get an opportunity like this again.”

Indeed, those words could not be closer to the truth for what was meant to be a joyous occasion could not escape the gravity of the plight of our fellow members in the LGBT community who are still fighting for civil rights. This event will go down on the books as a great success, as the night drew to a close, it left individuals wanting more. Many couples commented on how much they enjoyed the social gathering and expressed the need for more couple oriented events in the future. “This is an awesome anniversary party,” one woman commented, “but it’s not enough to just get together once a year, my wife and I go to bars but we want more couple nights like bowling or movie night and stuff.”

Hopefully, that eager woman will get her wish. Oftentimes in the struggle for our dreams, we forget about the simple moments in life that carry us through the trials and tribulations we undoubtedly face in this current battle for marriage equality. This anniversary event inspires us to take a moment to value the relationships that we have whether legally married or not, while remembering all who are still denied that right. For us, success is not an option, it is the standard to uphold for all who are willing to accept the challenge.

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