Image courtesy Shutterstock/Waclaw Koscielniak

Welcome to Love Wins California!

Over the past 13 years, the road to marriage equality in California has been bumpy, but ultimately rewarding. In 2004, under the direction of Mayor Gavin Newsom, San Francisco began issuing marriage licenses to LGBT couples, but the California Supreme Court quickly ended the practice, thus sparking a legal dispute that four years later led the court to reverse itself and legalize same-sex marriage throughout the state. This led to the bitterly disappointing passage during the November 2008 election of Proposition 8, which eliminated same-sex marriage in California. Finally, marriage equality throughout the state was restored in 2013 by the US Supreme Court’s Hollingsworth v. Perry ruling, which deemed Prop 8 unconstitutional.

During this long journey, the passionate activism that led to marriage equality in California almost certainly helped set the tone for the US Supreme Court to rule in favor of national same-sex marriage rights in its 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges decision. The state has, in fact, been at the forefront of LGBT civil rights since the 1950s, when activists Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon formed Daughters of Bilitis, and Harry Hay co-founded the Mattachine Society. Fittingly, California is one of the world’s most popular places to live and visit among members of the LGBT community. And San Francisco, Palm Springs, Oakland, Los Angeles, Long Beach, San Diego, and Sacramento are among the top 15 US cities with the highest percentages of married same-sex couples.

We owe the creation of this magazine to the thousands of both ordinary and extraordinary people who have fought tirelessly for marriage equality over the years, including a pair of modern-day heroes, Sandy Stier and Kris Perry, the plaintiffs in Hollingsworth v. Perry.  See our inspiring interview with Perry.

The aim of Love Wins California Weddings is to showcase same-sex weddings around the state, and to provide inspiring advice to help you plan your own special day. Read about five real—and quite touching—LGBT California weddings, from an elopement in the Russian River to a lively wildlife-themed reception at Living Desert Zoo and Gardens near Palm Springs. You’ll also find stories about the hottest trends in wedding fashion, floral design, and artful cakes. San Francisco food writer Sean Timberlake has written a delicious guide to food-truck weddings, and alongside my partner, Fernando Nocedal (who wrote the LGBT wedding music playlist story), I spent two adventuresome (and Syrah-filled) weeks touring California’s top wine regions to research the honeymoon road trip story.

As we grapple with the unsettling results of the recent presidential election, which has cast a shadow of uncertainty upon the fate of LGBT rights and other progressive causes, I feel grateful for the opportunity to be involved with a magazine that celebrates our diversity and encourages us to be visible about who we are, and whom we love.

Andrew Collins