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San Francisco committed to welcoming gay and lesbian visitors

San Francisco continues to welcome gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender visitors, in light of today’s decisions from the California Supreme Court upholding Proposition 8 while validating the 18,000 same sex marriages performed between June and November.

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May 26, 2009 — San Francisco continues to welcome gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender visitors, in light of today’s decisions from the California Supreme Court upholding Proposition 8 while validating the 18,000 same sex marriages performed between June and November.

Proposition 8 was an initiative on the November 2008 ballot, which added a new section to the state Constitution specifying that "only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California."

San Francisco was the first city in the United States to perform same sex marriages, in 2004.

“California at its best is a beacon of equal rights and equal opportunities. If we want to prosper together, we must respect each other,” said San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom. “It is up to every single one of us who supports marriage equality to reach out to those who still disagree with our position and have a personal conversation about why it is so important to treat every Californian equally.”

"While I am personally disappointed with the California Supreme Court's decision, I encourage all gay and lesbian visitors to experience and embrace the rich diversity San Francisco represents," said Joe D'Alessandro, president & CEO of The San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau (SFCVB). "San Francisco has long been at the forefront of the struggle for LGBT rights and our community continues to welcome all couples and recognize and celebrate all unions, despite this ruling."

“My partner and I, who were married August, send our congratulations to the 18,000 couples who remain legally wed,” D’Alessandro said.

San Francisco has long been known for its values of acceptance and respect for the rights of the individual. In the November 2008 election, 76 percent of San Franciscans voted against Proposition 8, the largest percentage of any of California’s 58 counties.

"San Francisco has a long history of welcoming the gay and lesbian community," said Joie de Vivre Hospitality founder and CEO Chip Conley, "and even as recently as this month, the City was named Best Domestic Destination in the U.S. in the 2009 Gay.com Travel Awards."

A 2006 study by the U.S. Travel Association (then known as the Travel Industry Association) named San Francisco the #1 gay-friendly destination in the U.S. and Canada, by a 19-point margin.

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