More than 8,000 people march for same-sex marriage
A second march is scheduled Saturday
Published Thursday, 13-Nov-2008 in issue 1090
Less then 24 hours after the polls closed on Nov. 4, community organizers across the state began organizing marches and rallies to express anger, sadness and frustration over the ban on same-sex marriage California voters approved by a slim margin.
The San Diego LGBT Community Center organized an information session and community meeting on Nov. 5, the day after the election, to review legal challenges to Proposition 8, the ballot initiative that stripped same-sex couples of the right to marry, and to rally residents to action.
“This is a sad remark I never dreamed I’d have to make today,” Delores Jacobs, chief executive officer of The San Diego LGBT Community Center, said during the community meeting. “Never before in California’s history has there been a time where a group who currently enjoys a fundamental right has been singled out and had those rights ripped from them by a vote of their fellow citizens – never. So as we stand here today, we have not stood here before. Many Californians, in fact, millions of Californians who voted with us woke up this morning stunned.”
Following the gathering at The Center, community members reacted by organizing grassroots protests and marches.
Friday, a group of more than 200 people gathered in Balboa Park to rally and promote a Saturday march, which drew more than 8,000 people. Word of the march spread through text message and online social networking sites. It was the largest of a handful of community gatherings and protests last week. Participants walked from First and University avenues to 30th Street and University Avenue carrying signs that read, “Invalidate Prop. 8,” “Whose rights are next?” and “Keep your church out of my state,” the latter referencing the support Proposition 8 received from out-of-state religious organizations, churches and members of congregations.
Sunday, a group of more than 100 people protested outside the Mormon temple in La Jolla, and Tuesday another group gathered to rally at the Mormon temple.
At Friday’s rally, local nightclub owner Nick Moede explained why marriage is important to equal rights.
“I’ve seen and experienced a lot of sadness, shock and grief these past few days, and looking out at all of you I see those same emotions,” Moede said. “This struggle is all about love and our freedom to love. Do we need a piece of paper to validate our love? No. But we do need that piece of paper to say that we are equal and say we have the same rights as everyone else. Our love is just as strong, just as genuine, and it deserves the same recognition.”
Though residents and community leaders were disappointed with the result, they remain determined to invalidate Proposition 8 and to continue to raise awareness about marriage equality. Currently, there are three legal challenges to the initiative. Also, marches and rallies are planned nationwide for this weekend.
An organization called Join the Impact is rallying people in every major U.S. city to march at the same time on Saturday, Nov. 15.
In San Diego, demonstrators will gather at Sixth Avenue and Upas Street in Balboa Park at 10 a.m. They will begin marching at 10:30 a.m. to the San Diego County Administration Building on North Harbor Drive for a 1 p.m. rally.
Some are also planning a Sunday protest at The Rock Church in Point Loma.
Churches have been a common target of some protests in California and Utah. In San Diego, a number of local churches, including Skyline Church, were involved in the Yes on 8 campaign.
District 3 City Councilmember Toni Atkins said San Diego was ground zero for the battle over the ballot initiative.
“This was ground zero for the opposition’s campaign of lies, scare tactics, and the misuse of prayer,” she said. “They knew that there are still many in our country that cling to the politics of fear and division. This is the home of the huge right wing churches that lead for the fight of Prop. 8 and discrimination.”
At The Center’s rally the day after the election, Mayor Jerry Sanders said Californians shouldn’t be afraid of same-sex marriage; rather, they should fear losing rights.
“For some reason, five million Californians are frightened by [same sex marriage],” said Mayor Jerry Sanders at The Center’s rally last week. “And they are the ones who should wake up this morning and be terrified. Because if they took rights away from you, that you lawfully and legally had, then those rights can be taken away from them. That’s not what California is about; that’s not what America is about.”