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Finding Aid to the Molly McKay and Davina Kotulski Marriage Scrapbooks, 1998-2012 GLC 96
GLC 96  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Provenance
  • Existence and Location of Copies note
  • Biographical note
  • Scope and Contents
  • Arrangement

  • Title: Molly McKay and Davina Kotulski Marriage Scrapbooks,
    Date (inclusive): 1998-2012
    Collection Identifier: GLC 96
    Creator: Williams, Molly McKay, 1970-
    Physical Description: 22.0 scrapbooks in 9 boxes
    Contributing Institution: James C. Hormel LGBTQIA Center, San Francisco Public Library
    100 Larkin Street
    San Francisco, CA 94102
    Abstract: A collection of 22 scrapbooks that document Molly McKay and Davina Kotulski's joint and individual efforts to attain marriage equality in California from 1998-2012. The volumes contain clippings, correspondence and email, photographs, speeches, flyers, notes and ephemera. There are also some copies of legal documents.
    Physical Location: The collection is stored onsite.
    Language of Materials: Collection materials are in English.


    The collection is available for use during San Francisco History Center hours.

    Publication Rights

    All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the City Archivist. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the San Francisco Public Library as the owner of the physical items.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Molly McKay and Davina Kotulski Marriage Scrapbooks (GLC 96), LGBTQIA Center, San Francisco Public Library.


    Donated by Molly McKay, October 17, 2014.

    Existence and Location of Copies note

    The Molly McKay and Davina Kotulski Marriage Scrapbooks (Coll2013.029) are available in portable document format (PDFs) at ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, USC Libraries, University of Southern California.

    Biographical note

    Davina S. Kotulski, a clinical psychologist, and Molly B. McKay, an attorney, met in 1996. They decided to get married in September 1998 and, in June of that year, participated in the San Francisco Pride Parade, fully clad in wedding attire. A photograph of the couple appeared on the front page of the following day's San Francisco Examiner and would be featured on news outlets worldwide in the following fourteen years they spent together. Although both had been marriage equality activists since 1996, this feature marked the beginning of the pair's role as a "poster couple" for the fight for marriage equality in California in the 2000s.
    The couple became domestic partners on April 1, 2000. Over the next 3 years, they went to San Francisco City Hall around Valentine's Day to request a marriage license and were denied. When they arrived at City Hall on February 12, 2004, they were surprised to learn that Mayor Gavin Newsom had authorized issuance of marriage licences to same-sex couples earlier that day. The couple became the seventeenth same-sex couple to be married on what came to be known as Freedom to Marry Day. That same year, Kotulski published her first book posing arguments for marriage equality, Why You Should Give a Damn About Gay Marriage. These arguments would be used by California marriage equality activists when Newsom's decision was challenged and lost. However, the San Francisco Superior Court later ruled that the state's marriage laws were unconstitutional. This began a legal battle of court cases, legislation, and propositions in California. Kotulski and McKay were active field organizers at the time, as well as organizationally involved with Marriage Equality USA and Equality California, respectively.
    On May 15, 2008, the California Supreme Court ruled that barring same-sex couples from marriage was unconstitutional. Shortly thereafter, marriage equality opponents introduced a ballot initiative to amend the California Constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman. Kotulski and McKay participated in a heated campaign against the California Marriage Protection Act, or Proposition 8. The couple also married for the third time on their tenth anniversary on September 1, 2008, although their marriage was recognized only in California. In November, California voters passed Proposition 8. Three challenges filed the next day with the California Supreme Court. The court upheld the proposition in May 2009, but in February 2012, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned it, ruling the proposition unconstitutional.
    McKay and Kotulski continued their activism, through Marriage Equality USA and other partnerships. After publishing her second book in 2011, Love Warriors: The Rise of the Marriage Equality Movement and Why it Will Prevail, Kotulski became a nationally known speaker and workshop leader for same-sex marriage rights. McKay continued as Media Director for Marriage Equality USA and also contributed to amicus curiae briefs for marriage equality cases. The pair continued to participate in civil actions for marriage equality, including the right to protections like community property and health care benefits through divorce.
    The couple separated in June 2011 and later divorced. As of March 2013, both Kotulski and McKay continue to be committed to equality for LGBT people and their families globally and continue to advocate for the end of all inequality and injustice against LGBT people and same sex couples.

    Scope and Contents

    Molly McKay assembled 22 scrapbooks that document her and Davina Kotulski's joint and individual efforts to attain marriage equality in California from 1998-2012. The scrapbooks consist of clippings, correspondence and email, photographs, speeches, event programs, flyers, notes and ephemera. There is significant material on the organizations Equality California and Marriage Equality USA, and there are copies of legal documents relating to marriage equality.


    Arranged by volume number which is roughly chronological order.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Kotulski, Davina
    Williams, Molly McKay, 1970-
    Gay couples--California.
    Gay couples--Legal status, laws, etc.--California.
    Lesbian activists--California--San Francisco.
    Same-sex marriage--California--San Francisco.