After briefly considering the closure of Berkeley’s Domestic Partnership Registry prior to this week’s City Council meeting, officials decided instead to simply celebrate its 22nd anniversary.
Councilman Darryl Moore had originally submitted an item for council review that would have closed down the registry following the U.S. Supreme Court ruling earlier this year in favor of marriage equality in California.
Said one member of the public, Leland Traiman, who spoke about the item, “It’s really window dressing at this point. It doesn’t mean anything.” Traiman is a gay rights activist who helped craft Berkeley’s domestic partnership policies. Those policies, adopted in 1984, were “the first time in world history same sex couples were granted any of the Rights of Marriage,” according to the city staff report prepared for the week’s council meeting.
Tuesday night, after some pushback from the public about his resolution, Moore submitted a revised item asking just that the council recognize the registry’s 22nd anniversary, and declare Oct. 11 “Marriage Equality Day” in Berkeley.
There wasn’t much discussion on the resolution, which was on the council’s consent calendar. But Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates did said the city should, in the future, take a harder look at the registry, adding that it can be used “as a tax dodge” or for other nefarious purposes.
On Oct. 11, Moore — the first openly gay African American council member elected in Berkeley’s history — plans to officiate weddings at Berkeley’s Old City Hall from 6-8 p.m. Councilman Kriss Worthington also plans to officiate at least one wedding ceremony that evening, of Karl Reeh and Anghel Mugur, described by Worthington — who is also openly gay — as “outstanding local leaders.”
A related item Tuesday night at the Berkeley City Council recognized Berkeley parents Kriss Perry and Sandy Stier for their efforts fighting Proposition 8 all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court. Perry and Stier were one of two couples who were litigants in the case. They were also the first same-sex couple to marry in California since 2008 when they wed at San Francisco City Hall in June.
See a video of Kriss and Stier below, along with the reading of the resolution and a recitation of a poem written by Worthington for the occasion.
Berkeley to look at closing Domestic Partnership Registry (09.30.13)
Berkeley Prop. 8 couple first to marry in state after stay lifted (06.28.13)
Obama lauds Berkeley couple who fought Prop. 8 and won (06.26.13)
Rainbow flag marks Supreme Court cases (03.26.13)
Berkeley couple at heart of Prop 8 case speak out (08.05.10)
Berkeley couple at center of same-sex marriage trial (01.11.10)
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