Saturday, March 22, 2008

Gavin Newsom awaits his answer -- Queer Lesbian Gay Election News --

Gavin Newsom awaits his answer -- Queer Lesbian Gay Election News --

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom rushes into the room across from his office, apologizing for being late. He explains that he’d been walking down Market Street, talking to panhandlers about what it would take to get them off the streets.

Fiery idealism like that has come to define Gavin Newsom. Although he is a bona fide policy wonk, his political passion is what captured the attention of the nation four years ago, when -- less than a month into his first term -- Newsom decided to permit same-sex couples to marry in San Francisco. As we sit down, the political fallout from that decision continues.

Pundits are still arguing over whether San Francisco's gay marriages helped tilt the 2004 presidential race to George W. Bush. And Newsom certainly rankled Democratic elected officials by moving forward on an issue that most preferred to avoid.

But without the challenge Newsom threw down then, the California Supreme Court would almost certainly not be preparing a decision on marriage equality now. (The city of San Francisco remains one of the plaintiffs in the case.) Whatever happens, Newsom knows he has become a brand name.

"I'm the gay marriage mayor," he says. "I'm an icon of myself."...............

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