SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Mayor London Breed married four couples inside San Francisco's City Hall Monday, to mark the reopening of the storied building after it shut down in March 2020 as part of a regional lockdown.
Madelyn Peterson and Indira Carmona were the first couple to wed on the grand staircase of the building’s rotunda. They had three witnesses, each sitting in chairs spaced 6 feet (1.8 meters) apart at the bottom of the steps.
The building's doors opened at 8 a.m. for those looking to get marriage license applications, business registrations, birth and death certificates, and other documents. Visitors are still required to wear a mask and socially distance.
San Francisco has had some of the strictest pandemic-related restrictions in the country and the compact city of nearly 900,000 has reported 36,766 COVID-19 cases and 546 deaths. To compare, Long Beach in Southern California has about 467,000 residents but more than 53,000 cases and more than 900 deaths.
Vaccination rates in San Francisco are also high, with 80% of residents having received at least one dose.
Moments before Breed officiated the weddings, she raised the Pride flag outside the building's main entrance to officially kick off the annual LGBTQ Pride Month celebrations.
"We’re going to celebrate, we’re going to have a good time, we’re going to keep smiles on our faces because we survived a pandemic, y’all," Breed told a small, cheerful crowd gathered for the flag-raising ceremony, which also included music from the San Francisco Lesbian and Gay Freedom Band.
“I am looking forward to making sure that San Francisco comes back alive," Breed added.
The mayor announced several investments and programs for the LGBTQ community, including $2 million for a guaranteed income program for trans people and $12 million to buy a site for "the country’s first full-scale LGBTQ Museum."
Last week, a massive pink triangle was illuminated on the city's Twin Peaks with Breed and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in attendance of the annual tradition started in 1995. The pink triangle was used by Nazis during the Holocaust to identify LGBT prisoners. Now, the LGBT community uses it as a symbol of pride.