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West Hollywood to mark historic same-sex marriages

August 20, 2009 | 12:23 pm


A West Hollywood site where same-sex marriages were performed last year is getting a new addition: a bronze historical marker engraved with a quote from Nelson Mandela.

The City Council plans to unveil the plaque Sept. 8 before permanently installing it at West Hollywood Park off North San Vicente Boulevard to commemorate the first marriages of same-sex couples.

It will bear these words from the former president of South Africa: “I am not truly free if I am taking away someone else’s freedom, just as surely as I am not free when my freedom is taken from me. The oppressed and the oppressor alike are robbed of their humanity.”

The city of West Hollywood issued more than 1,000 marriage licenses and performed more than 600 civil ceremonies from June to November 2008, when California voters approved a ban on same-sex marriage. The California Supreme Court upheld the ban in May.

Mayor Abbe Land said West Hollywood continues to fight for the rights of same-sex couples.

“Each of us are our own activists,” she said. “We will be doing what needs to be done to get the word out.”

-- Nicole Santa Cruz

Photo: Milo Reifsnyder lines up for cake with parents Frank Reifsnyder and James Riefsnyder-Smith during a gathering of married same-sex couples in June at West Hollywood Park. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times