Finding Aid to the Molly McKay and Davina Kotulski Marriage Scrapbooks, 1998-2012 GLC 96

Finding aid prepared by Tim Wilson. Some descriptive text is copied or adapted from the finding aid by Sana Shuja for the pdf collection at ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives.
James C. Hormel LGBTQIA Center, San Francisco Public Library
100 Larkin Street
San Francisco, CA 94102

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.

Box 1, Scrapbook 1

"Molly & Davina, Marriage Equality, 1996-2003," 1998-2003

General note

Includes clippings, correspondence and email, photographs, speeches, flyers, notes and ephemera. Subjects include gay marriage, Defense of Marriage, Diane Whipple, Freedom to Marry, Sharon Smith, and domestic partners.
Box 1, Scrapbook 2


Box 2, Scrapbook 3

April-September, 2004

Box 2, Scrapbook 4

Spring 2004-Spring 2005

Box 3, Scrapbook 5

"Caravan 2004-Winter 2005," 2004-2005

General note

Includes: caravan to National Rally for Marriage Equality (Washington, D.C.), Equality California, and Fresno fires.
Box 3, Scrapbook 6

February 13-June 30, 2004

Box 3, Scrapbook 7

"2004 Photographs," clippings and ephemera, 2004-2006

Box 4, Scrapbook 8

[Clippings, marriage certificate and copy, etc.], 2004

Box 4, Scrapbook 9

Spring 2005-Winter 2005

Box 5, Scrapbook 10

January-October 2006

Box 5, Scrapbook 11

October 2006-May 2007

Box 6, Scrapbook 12

July 2007-February 2008

Box 6, Scrapbook 13

February-May 2008

Box 6, Scrapbook 14

May-July 2008

Box 7, Scrapbook 15

"Prop 8 Unfair & Wrong. Election 08," 2008

Box 7, Scrapbook 16

Vote No on Prop 8, 2008

Box 7, Scrapbook 17

November 2008-March 2009

Box 8, Scrapbook 18

June-November 2009

General note

Cover: State of California. Senate. Certificate of Recognition to Molly McKay & Davina Kotulski, Community Grand Marshals 2009. Signed by Mark Leno, June 28, 2009.
Box 8, Scrapbook 19

April-May 2009

Box 9, Scrapbook 20

February 1, 2008-June 2010

Box 9, Scrapbook 21

June-November 2010

General note

Cover: Los Angeles Times: "Ban on gay Marriage Overturned."
Box 9, Scrapbook 22

October 2010-February 2012