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California state senator marries S.F. couples

California state senator marries S.F. couples

California state senator Sheila Kuehl married six couples on Monday, including Assemblywoman Jackie Goldberg and her partner of 28 years, poet and activist Sharon Stricker, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday. The couple were accompanied by Goldberg's newlywed son and daughter-in-law. The assemblywoman authored the state's domestic-partnership law, which goes into effect in January 2005. It provides many of the legal state rights given to straight couples. Goldberg told the Times that if marriage in California is upheld as legal for same-sex couples and her hard-won law becomes obsolete, "it won't break my heart." According to the Times, Goldberg and Stricker met 28 years ago, when both were schoolteachers. Together they formed a study group on school desegregation and then cofounded the Integration Project to push their agenda. "Once we met, we knew," Stricker told the newspaper of their love. But she said they never imagined marriage as a possibility for their generation. "It just seemed too far off, " she said. "The struggles we had seemed too basic--having a child, being accepted in the communities where we lived." The other five couples married by Kuehl on Monday are all close friends of the legislator. Among them were Torie Osborn and her partner, Lydia Vaias. Osborn is executive director of the Santa Monica-based Liberty Hill Foundation and former director of the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. The other couples were: Jehan Agrama and Dwora Fried; Patti Giggans and Ellen Ledley; Barrie Levy and Linda Garnets; and Avi Rose and Ron Strochlic. Assemblyman Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) attended Monday's ceremonies to deliver a blessing in English and Hebrew to the six couples. Leno last month introduced a bill that would allow gay marriage in California by replacing the words "between a man and a woman" with "between two persons" in the family code section that defines marriage. The California supreme court could decide this week whether to intervene in determining the legality of the marriages that have been performed so far in San Francisco. If it opts to wait, a trial court will hear evidence beginning March 29. Ultimately, the state's high court will probably decide the matter.

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