After being closed to the public for nearly 15 months, San Francisco City Hall came bustling back again Monday with nuptials and the annual raising of the Pride flag off Mayor London Breed’s balcony.
Breed was joined by city, state and LGBTQ community leaders to kick off Pride Month from the steps of City Hall as a large crowd gathered below — a sight seldom seen since the pandemic hit in March 2020. The mayor said during Monday’s press conference:
“San Francisco is bright and beautiful and we plan to celebrate like no other while making sure that we’re continuing to keep one another safe.”
Last week, Breed celebrated The City’s rich LGBTQ history with the unveiling of part of the original Rainbow flag, created in 1978 by Gilbert Baker at Harvey Milk’s request. Long thought to be destroyed, the flag piece was rediscovered in 2019 and is now on display at the GLBT Historical Society in the Castro.
In-person SF Pride events were canceled last year as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, including the world-famous annual parade along Market Street. While the world-famous parade down Market Street is still a no-go this year, a number of live events are planned throughout the month of June, including movie nights at Oracle Park where “In the Heights” and “Everybody’s Talking About Jamie” will be screened.
SF Pride Executive Director Fred Lopez said:
“[E]ven though we’re not gathering in the way that we have in the past, my heart is still filled with hope.”
Inside City Hall, the mayor officiated several weddings on the grand staircase under the rotunda — the first public weddings held there since the pandemic began.
Imdira Carmona and Madelyn Peterson, the first couple married Monday, were outwardly grateful for the opportunity to share their wedding day in the iconic space. Carmona told reporters:
“We know there’s still hard times out there, but you know, we’re just so lucky.”
In the afternoon, Breed also married Hanna Teferi and Casy Blanton with the rotunda overhead. Teferi said:
“We’re really excited that we were able to do this and be around others, and really have that moment of joy for our wedding.”
Breed told several reporters she saw Monday’s weddings as a joyous way to reopen City Hall to the public it serves, saying:
“I know a lot of folks have waited because they wanted to do something in person with their family members, so to be able to do that here today was really fun.”