Voice for Equality: Willie Brown

Former mayor of San Francisco (1996-2004). Brown also served more than three decades in the California State Assembly-- 15 of them as speaker. He's known for his social policy and public safety reforms as mayor, and known in the legislature for decriminalizing sodomy in 1975. In his first mayoral term, he signed the Equal Benefits Ordinance (1996), extending domestic partner benefits to same-sex couples in San Francisco-- although he recognizes that partnership benefits and civil unions are ultimately insufficient for marriage equality. He said in 2003, "Couples of any sexual orientation ought to enjoy the same rights and privileges as heterosexual couples, period." Needless to say, he was a vocal opponent last November of California's Proposition 8.

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