While today will be a special day for many same-sex partners, one of the most talked about weddings will undoubtedly be the union between Lyon and Martin that took place yesterday at 5:01 p.m.
After a closed ceremony where Newsome pronounced the couple "spouses for life," the pair emerged to greet a crowd of well-wishers.
"I think it's a wonderful day," Lyon said as the light from the rotunda cast a glow on the three-tiered butter cream wedding cake.
Newsom selected the pair to be the first couple married in City Hall on Monday to recognize their 55-year relationship and their role as leaders of the gay rights movement. In 1955, Lyon and Martin helped found the first lesbian rights organization. After their 2004 San Francisco marriage during the winter of love was declared void, they and a dozen other couples battled the state to allow gays and marries to wed – helping forge the May 15 ruling.
"They are an inspiration and could teach us all — straight or gay — a thing or two about love and commitment and relationships," said John Weber, emperor of the San Francisco Imperial Court, a nation-wide gay and lesbian organization.
"This is the moment historians will write about," said Kate Kendell, Executive Director of the National center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR). "This is a new day — a day we're all proud to witness."
As expected, opinions about any same-sex marriage are as diverse as the colors on the rainbow flags being draped around the state.
Fifteen-year-old Adrienne Von Schulthess, said this was a wonderful and important moment for her family — her two mothers and 13-year-old brother. "Finally, I feel like everyone recognizes us as a family."
"A lot of people say 'You have all the legal rights, why do you need the word marriage to define you?" asked Beatrice, Adrienne's mother. "Words and labels matter and this label is a powerful, important label and symbol of our love." While Beatrice's 2004 nuptial was declared void, she plans to marry her partner of 20 years in the upcoming weeks.
"We're excited California is catching up," said Louise Pedersen, a tourist from Denmark, a country that has recognized lesbian and gay partnerships ("marriages" in all but name) since 1989. "It's about time."
"This is just fair," said attorney Carol Gordon. "Its mind boggling that it took this long for us to get here. It's just a logical step."
But not everyone agrees and opposition has been fierce. Outside the Lyon and Martin wedding in City Hall, protesters sang anti-gay songs and carried signs like "Homosexuality Is a Threat to National Security" and "Re-criminalize Sodomy."
"God hates them and they're going to hell," said 15-year-old Grace Phelps-Roper as she stood on top of a rainbow flag. She and two others were part of a group from traveling from Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas, to protests the weddings.
Her mother and the church's attorney, Shirley Phelps-Roper, didn't attend. She was off to D.C. to picket another event — Tim Russert's funeral. She said Russert was not an activist for "biblical marriages."
Three signs down, 17-year-old Mike Choban said it was his duty to warn the wicked on behalf of God. "The gays will be judged," he said.