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Herb Donaldson

#lgbtqpridemonthProfilesJune 7, 2022

Herb Donaldson was the first openly gay municipal court judge in California, appointed by Governor Jerry Brown in 1983. Donaldson had gained national attention two decades earlier, when he and Evander Smith, a friend and fellow attorney, attempted to block the San Francisco Police from harassing guests at a gay fundraising ball in 1965. When they were arrested, the most prominent attorneys in the city came to their defense. The judge found the evidence insufficient to support the charge of obstructing the police. The judge also declared that the police had been intent on disturbing the party. Called the “Stonewall” of San Francisco, this event ushered in a new era of gay rights in San Francisco.

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