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40 Years Of Pride In San Diego

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Photo credit: San Diego LGBT PRIDE

San Diego LGBT Pride spokesman Fernando López Jr. is shown in this undated photo.

San Diego Pride Month

Spirit of Stonewall Rally and flag raising, July 18 at 6 p.m.

Pride Parade, July 19 starting at 11 a.m.

Other events

Fernando López Jr. has been a marriage equality activist since 2004, when then-San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom defied California law and began issuing marriage licenses to gay couples.

López, now public affairs director for San Diego LGBT Pride, said he sees a new state law that Gov. Jerry Brown signed Monday to recognize same-sex marriage in the state code as significant.

"It's a testament to how far we've come," he said. "Some people have focused on how it's undoing language of Prop. 8. It's undoing language of even earlier laws. Marriage laws in 1976 were gender neutral."

He pointed out that California lawmakers voted in 1977 to ban same-sex marriage and at the same time changed the out-of-state marriage code.

News of the new law, which will go into effect Jan. 1, comes as San Diego LGBT Pride celebrates its 40th anniversary.

That first parade, López said, had only a handful of people walking through the streets of downtown San Diego, some with bags on their heads.

This year, he said, his organization is working with San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer to line those same downtown San Diego streets with rainbow flags.

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