Almost two weeks after California voters narrowly passed Proposition 8, an amendment to the state constitution that bans same-sex marriage, the furor continues nationwide.
Saturday, November 15, 2008 was labled as an official day of protest against Proposition 8. The protests were indeed nationwide, from shore to shore, New York to Los Angeles and then some.
Shouts of “yes we can,” echoing one of the slogans of President-elect Obama’s campaign (which credit for this term rightfully goes to Senator Hillary Clinton who coined the term during her run in the Democratic Primary earlier this year), along with signs reading “No on H8” peppered the protests. Advocates seek to reverse the Proposition 8 vote on by it becoming a countrywide referendum on gay rights, calling it “the new frontier in the civil rights movement.”
Proponents of same-sex marriage say that the passage of Proposition 8 has served only to energize the gay rights movement. Activists are using various networks of websites, e-mails and text messages to coordinate protests in about 300 cities — from Fayetteville, Ark., to Omaha.
“This narrow loss has awakened Godzilla,” says Fred Karger of Los Angeles, who runs the website Californians Against Hate (http://californiansagainsthate.com). “I think this loss in California … is the greatest thing that could have happened” because it spurred activism in the gay-marriage movement.
His site highlights contributors to Proposition 8 and lets users search public records for names.
On Wednesday, artistic director Scott Eckern at California Musical Theatre in Sacramento, the state’s largest non-profit musical theater company, resigned amid protests. “I understand that my choice of supporting Proposition 8 has been the cause of many hurt feelings,” he said in a statement. “It was not my intent.”
Andrew Pugno, a spokesman for the Yes on 8 campaign, says he has received hundreds of e-mails from people complaining about “retaliation for their support of Prop 8,” including threats to them and their families.
Three lawsuits challenging Proposition 8 have been filed in the state Supreme Court. The Yes on 8 campaign plans to respond by Monday, arguing the measure was constitutional, Pugno says.
“It is very disturbing that the No on 8 campaign continues to challenge the right of the majority to speak on this issue,” he says. “The election is over. The majority spoke.”
Stuart Gaffney, a plaintiff in the case that led to the state Supreme Court’s May ruling, says the proposition was immoral, and plans to rally in San Francisco on Saturday. “The rights of a minority shouldn’t be taken away by a popular vote,” he says.
GAY-MARRIAGE SUPPORTERS PLAN PROP-8 PROTESTS
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