Saturday, November 15, 2008

Anti G/L Marriage Amendment Protest News

(H/T SusanG Diary at Daily Kos.)

Thousands upon thousands of protestors turned out in cities across the nation today to demonstrate against the passage of Proposition 8 in California, Proposition 102 in Arizona and Amendment 2 in Florida.

Some of the best coverage of the day is over at Andrew Sullivan's place, where he's been compiling inspiring first-hand accounts and posting photographs from dozens of cities across the United States all day.

The Clouds Of Prop 8 Lift


This sums a lot of it up:

A week ago I wrote you just to vent and express my sadness about the ban on gay marriage ... but today after attending our rally in South Beach, I won't be any more. I am not sad nor do I want to be angry any more. I just want to do what needs to be done.

Fired up. Ready to go.

Know Hope. These things take time. But we have changed consciousness and we have begun finally to tackle the last remaining obstacle. Not our opponent's misplaced fear and misguided panic. But our own lack of fire, our own capitulation to the forces that would eclipse and marginalize and demean us.

When every gay person and every friend or family member of a gay person really, truly believes that the staus quo is unacceptable, we will win. Today, I think we reached a tipping point. Now our task is to find a way to channel that conviction more aggressively, with more focus and professionalism. We will. And the next generation will lead the way.

(Photo: around 3 pm in Washington DC, today, as the protest made its way to Lafayette Square.)

15 Nov 2008 08:22 pm

The View From Your Protest: Las Vegas


A reader writes:

Well over 1,000 people rallied outside the Las Vegas GLBT Community Center this afternoon and then lined Sahara Avenue with cheers and banners. The biggest news out of the event was that Wanda Sykes, the comic, came out publicly for the first time. Her bottom line: "I’m proud to be a woman, I’m proud to be a black woman and I’m proud to be gay."

15 Nov 2008 08:20 pm

The View From Your Protest: Missoula, Montana


A reader writes:

We met at the north end of downtown on a grey but very pleasant late morning, warm for this time of year. The crowd was hundred and fifty or two hundred strong and cheerfully disorganized. There ware at least a dozen dogs. It wasn't clear if anyone was running the thing, though somebody had made up a variety of hand-lettered signs. My favorite was "I'm a little bit country, you're a little bit fascist." We marched uneventfully to the courthouse then stood around on the lawn for a while, everybody drinking coffee in their Polarfleece and chatting with their neighbors while brandishing our signs. Passers-by on Broadway were honking their horns & giving us the thumbs-up.

It was a day which made me feel good about our town & optimistic for our future, gay & straight.

15 Nov 2008 08:19 pm

The View From Your Protest: Baltimore


15 Nov 2008 08:15 pm

The View From Your Protest: Greenville, South Carolina

A reader writes:

With less than 24 hours notice that a rally was being held in Greenville, SC about 40 of us gathered in front of City Hall to let others know we support equal marriage for all persons. As this is the center of the Bible Belt, we were unsure of what reaction we would receive from passing motorists and pedestrians. What a pleasant surprise, the only fingers displayed to us were in the shape of a V. Horns honked, people shouted support and a few folks even joined us to lend their support. The crowd itself ranged from those in their 20’s through to a couple in their late 50’s. A huge surprise and confidence booster is the fact that 10-15 of those in attendance were heterosexual... they came to show their support. While we would like to think the message of equal marriage is a civil rights issue, and an issue of equality came through loud and clear, the 6 p.m. news made sure to counter our actions with comments from others letting us know to them it is all about religion and God.

It was a blessed, peaceful event – what more could we ask for?

15 Nov 2008 08:12 pm

The View From Your Protest: Seattle


There's a vast selection of photos from around the country, with new ones added all the time, here.

15 Nov 2008 08:09 pm

The View From Your Protest: Santa Fe

A reader writes:

"Marriage means something," said one of the speakers. This speaker then told of the sudden death of his partner of thirty-four years. They had a trust; they had papers of all kinds; they had planned and prepared for every contingency - except for a lack of respect and regard for their 34 year commitment to each other. The funeral home insisted they could not cremate this man on the word of his partner of three plus decades; they needed an OK from a family member. No document, however legal, mattered on that loss and shock filled day after the unexpected death of this speaker's partner of 34 years - thirty-four years.

Think about that when you next hear that contracts and papers are enough and marriage isn't sacred or right for these people.

We are so often told by opponents of marriage equality that they do not oppose our right to have basic legal protections. What they do not understand, because they have never had to understand, is that without legal marriage, gay couples are always subject to the veto of family members who have more say over our spouses under the law than we do.

I remember a story told me during the AIDS epidemic. A man was visiting a friend dying in hospital. It was a grim scene, as it often was in those days. The next bed in the ward had a curtain drawn around it. And from behind that curtain, you could hear someone quietly singing. The man told his friend, "Well, at least that dude is keeping his spirits up, however sick he is." And the friend replied:

"Oh, that's not the patient singing. He died this morning. And his family came to collect the body. That voice you hear is the man's partner. The family didn't approve of his relationship and they have barred him from coming to the funeral and kicked him out of their shared home. That song he's singing is the song they called their own. It was playing when they met. He used to sing it to him all the time when he was dying."

"He's still singing it even though they've taken the body away. He's singing it to an empty bed. I guess it's the last time he feels he'll ever be close to the man he loved. They were together twenty years. The hospital staff don't have the heart to ask him to leave yet."

Until you have been treated as sub-human, it's hard to appreciate how it feels. We will not give up. And we will win in part for the sake of those who never made it to see this day.

This is what my faith teaches me, whatever the Vatican insists. Our love really is stronger than their fear.

15 Nov 2008 07:48 pm

The View From Your Protest: Long Beach


A reader writes:

My husband and I went to the rally in Long Beach. Many of the organizers where from local affirming churches. They spoke about the need to not blame all Mormons or all gays. It was about the need to treat others like we want to be treated and by doing so we will change minds one by one. That's a true Christian message, and it's powerful.

There will be a campaign by the Christianists to define and describe the reaction to having our families attacked and marriages voided as bigoted, angry, vicious and the like. A few incidents will be used by the usual suspects - O'Reilly, Hannity, Beck, Kristol, Drudge, Fox, The Weekly Standard, National Review, FRC et al. - to tarnish the thousands who showed up today as nasty people hostile to religious freedom. Watch them also try to use code-words about children to stir up fear. There's nothing we can do about this kind of thing, except show that the overwhelming sentiment from today was positive. Yes, we're angry. If all Mormons were told today that the majority had removed their civil right to marry, they'd be angry too.

But this was a day when anger was channeled into confidence and strength and love. That's been the tone of all of the hundreds of emails I've gotten today. It's the tone of the next generation. And they have reached the mountain top. They will not be stopped from reaching the promised land.

15 Nov 2008 07:38 pm

The View From Your Protest: Grand Forks, North Dakota


A reader writes:

Here in Grand Forks, ND, about 75 protesters gathered in from of the City Hall and then marched to the Town Square. The turnout was thrilling, but more encouraging were the passersby. College-aged men in pickup trucks pumping fists and flashing peace signs. Women reaching over from passenger seats and honking their husbands' horns. Elderly folks smiling and waving. Not a single person yelled anything out of a car window. Come to think of it, I only saw one middle finger the whole day!

I'm a politically active 25 year-old law student, and I really do think--at least it feels like--this is our generation's Stonewall.

When Stonewalls are happening in North Dakota, it's more than Stonewall. It's the Awakening. The Mormon campaign to void our civil marriages woke us up. Thanks, LDS! Sometimes, you have to see the bigotry in front of you before you realize you have to overcome it.

15 Nov 2008 07:24 pm

The View From Your Protest: Los Angeles

A reader writes:

I just got back from the LA protest. It was amazing. The protest was very well organized. The mayor showed up, the head of the local chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Council gave a great speech, Lucy Lawless gave a speech (c'mon, you have to love that)---all-in-all, I was struck by how positive everyone was. I mean, people were clearly against Prop 8, but there was a real sense that change was going to come, and that we were going to be the ones to make it happen. I left feeling much, much better than I had when I came there.

What's more, I have a great story for you.

Continue reading "The View From Your Protest: Los Angeles" »

15 Nov 2008 07:23 pm

The View From Your Protest: San Francisco


An image of the Statue of Liberty with a rainbow boa is displayed during a rally against the passing of Prop. 8 on November 15, 2008 in San Francisco, California. By Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

15 Nov 2008 07:21 pm

The View From Your Protest: San Diego

A reader writes:

A few months ago on the day that marriages started in California, my boyfriend and I went down to the San Diego County Administration Building to see couples commit themselves to one another. It was one of our proudest days. And again today, we marched from Hillcrest, San Diego's predominantly gay neighborhood downtown, past city hall and the Hall of Justice to the County Building where San Diegans exercised their equal right to marry until just days ago. I walked right by the arbor where my sister married her wife. Passing by the spot it struck me that she couldn't do that anymore.

On the route, people in blocked traffic honked and got out of their cars to wave or offer a thumbs up. Very few negative reactions, just a whole lot of love. Organizers say at least 15,000 San Diegans marched today. Meanwhile, following the march our new openly gay councilman announced that San Diego is looking to join San Francisco's lawsuit against Prop. 8. Bring it on.

15 Nov 2008 07:12 pm

The View From Your Protest: Dallas

Even Joan Crawford showed up:


15 Nov 2008 07:10 pm

The View From Your Protest: St Louis

A reader writes:

Wow! For a community that keeps getting kicked in the gut, the vibes were very positive today in Saint Louis. Over a thousand people showed up on the first bitterly cold day of winter to hear the mayor, the president of the Board of Alderman (who gave a particularly good speech that I will send you if I can find a video or transcript), state representatives, activists, and ordinary citizens speak up for equality. There was anger, yes, and a tinge of sadness, but hope really seemed to rule the day in each of the speeches, and in the mood of the crowd.

15 Nov 2008 07:03 pm

The View From Your Protest: Cummington, Mass (Pop. 785)


A reader writes:

We gathered on the lawn of our local general store to protest Prop 8, stand up for marriage equality, and celebrate love. The grandparents held signs; the children danced; the dogs wore veils. All in all, it was a fairly typical day in the Berkshire hills.

15 Nov 2008 06:53 pm

The View From Your Protest: NYC


A reader writes:

I went, along with my straight sister. Turnout was very high, and the protest area was PACKED - there was almost no room to move around, and at a certain point it became so crowded that I couldn't lift my sign without hitting someone.

It was an incredibly exciting day. Several members of the New York City Council spoke, and the mood of the protesters was generally very positive and inspiring. One of the speakers mentioned that the last time she had seen this many gay people rally in the streets over something, it was 1998 and Matthew Shepard had just been murdered. That got me thinking - I'm 23, and a large part of the crowd was around my age - in 1998, I was 13 and just starting to realize that I was gay.

For younger gays, this is the first time we've had the chance to take to the streets and fight for our basic humanity. Now that we've gotten a taste of what it feels like, I don't think we're ever going to give it up.

The next generation, gay and straight, get this more than ever. They will lead us now. I could not be happier to let them show me the way. This battle feels so much less lonely than it once did. The ripple has become a flood.

15 Nov 2008 06:46 pm

The View From Your Protest: Chicago


A reader writes:

The Chicago turnout was a little hard to believe - thousands of people blocking State Street and even Michigan Avenue. People in cars everywhere were honking their horns and leaning out of apartment windows in support. We even ran into one (straight) wedding party near the Hancock Tower that took some signs and held them up for us. It was exhilarating and, as one older gay couple put it, "We haven't seen anything like this since the sixties."

Another adds

It is difficult to separate the recent joys of the presidential election with the disappointments in California, Arkansas, Florida and Arizona. Today at the Chicago protest, it was no different. The protest was held right next to Barack Obama's former Senate Office in the federal building next to Calder's famous Flamingo sculpture.

Continue reading "The View From Your Protest: Chicago" »

15 Nov 2008 06:35 pm

The View From Your Protest: Nashville


A reader writes:

I'm a straight man, and my wife and I were disgusted with the claims of marriage equality opponents that gay marriage is a threat to the integrity of the institution. Now is the time for fair-minded people to stand up in Tennessee, whose state legislature is now entirely controlled by Republicans, as the anti-Obama vote was coordinated with a mobilization of Christianists, who turned just enough seats to control the state house.

One of their stated goals is to reverse the basic gains gays and lesbians have made in their rights to adopt. I hope the 300 or so protesters, who were joyous in discovering their ability to mobilize so quickly, will represent the beginning of what will be a tough fight: progressive Nashville is not the rest of the state, and we represented a fraction of the average Sunday at one of the right-wing megachurches.

But for today, optimism and a start.

15 Nov 2008 06:35 pm

The View From Your Protest: Toronto


A reader writes:

A little over 100 people braved the raw, wet day to stand in front of the U.S. Consulate on University Avenue in Toronto to join their sisters and brothers in supporting the right to marry. Ironically, security restrictions in front of the Consulate had police direct people to across the street, to congregate in front of the Provincial Court House where the Halpern decision in 2003 gave same-sex couples the right to marry in this province.

15 Nov 2008 06:31 pm

The View From Your Protest: Salt Lake City


15 Nov 2008 06:30 pm

The View From Your Protest: San Francisco


A reader writes:

Your reader entirely misses the point, and it's a point too important for the future of activism to miss. When I asked gay journalist Rex Wockner in email who was spearheading this movement, he replied, "LOL. Facebook." And he's right. Unlike the usual rallies organized by the usual suspects with the usual permits and the usual crowd, this rally was whipped up virally via social networks and email chains. There wasn't time for the usual amenities available to long-range organizers. There was a stage and a sound system, but the speeches were drowned out by all the news helicopters. It didn't matter. Mormon moms, straight allies, gay vets, nerds from Stanford, and loving families of all ages, races, and genders showed their support for people like me and my husband. We were very happy today.

I totally agree. DC was also unorganized, rather than disorganized. We had almost no speeches, and all the signs were hand-made. But that was the point.

Continue reading "The View From Your Protest: San Francisco" »

15 Nov 2008 06:29 pm

The View From Your Protest: Amsterdam


A reader writes:

Over here in the Netherlands, gays and lesbians are first class citizens with all the same rights as anyone else. Those of us from the US however, lose those rights whenever we travel home. Cross the US border and you become a second class citizen. If you have a non-US same-sex spouse or partner, it’s hard not to become bitter about our lack of rights back home.

Continue reading "The View From Your Protest: Amsterdam " »

15 Nov 2008 06:19 pm

The View From Your Protest: Boston


A reader writes:

The protest took place from 1:30 to 4:00, in front of City Hall. The weather was rainy and gloomy, but you could never tell by the attitude in the crowd. The feeling was not one of defeat, but of determination, of a willingness to fight. I ("Str8 against H8") stood next to a transgendered woman, a gay couple, and an elderly man and woman, all for the same cause. There were numerous speakers - congresspeople, advocates, teachers, speaking not just of prop 8, but of trans rights, DOMA, and the change that the community has brought forth, and will do again. Even when there were counter protesters, people at the rally stood up. A group of teen boys went to CVS, made quick signs, and stood in front of the hatemongers, telling them that they "were gay, and voting will not make them go away." In the end, it summed up the message of the rally - the fear of the oppressors will be drowned out by our determination. We won't shut up, and we won't give up.

15 Nov 2008 06:09 pm

The View From Your Protest: Madison, Wisconsin


A reader writes:

I am a straight woman in my 40s. My husband and I went to Madison's Library Mall today to lend our voices in opposition to California's Proposition 8 (and Wisconsin's similar anti-marriage amendment passed two years ago). The crowd skewed toward younger folks and same sex couples, but we were not the oldest folks, nor the only straight folks, in the crowd.

Continue reading "The View From Your Protest: Madison, Wisconsin" »

15 Nov 2008 06:03 pm

The View From Your Protest: Houston


A reader writes:

I just returned from our Houston rally, and I have to say I am so proud of our community today. There must have been about 600 people. Gay, straight, black, white, young, old, married, single. But one community. One goal. Equal rights. The speakers were inspiring and the crowd stayed around for several hours. There were smiles everywhere, and a few tears when the mother of gay son spoke, with her son and his husband beside her. And then at the end, all the couples who had been married in California were invited to to the front. It was a unifying moment.

15 Nov 2008 05:57 pm

The View From Your Protest: Tallahassee


A reader writes:

Just came from the protest in Tallahassee, where folks marched from the Westcott fountain in front of Florida State University through downtown Tallahassee to the old state capitol building. One official estimated the marching group at 350, which is pretty good for an uncharacteristically chilly day in FL. The state capitol sits at the intersection of two main streets in Tallahassee and as pastors and community leaders spoke from the capitol steps, marchers stood along the street with signs, enjoying the encouragement, cheers and honks of cars passing by. One elderly African-American man stood amid the protesters holding up a sign that read "Same Sex Marriage: Evil, Unholy," but he was the only counter-protester present.

15 Nov 2008 05:55 pm

The View From Your Protest: Philadelphia


A reader writes:

Although there is an obvious lack of structure to the rally, there has to be a couple of thousand protesters at City Hall and it keeps growing.

15 Nov 2008 05:53 pm

The View From Your Protest: Denver


A reader writes:

The news from Denver is that gays in Denver get it. We really get it. I just came from the "protest" rally where a crowd of 3,000 to 5,000 people gathered in support of gay marriage. Speakers stood on the same steps that Barack Obama used to address a crowd of over 100,000 people just a few weeks ago. The thing that stood out to me is how normal everyone looked. I cannot ever remember seeing that many people people who were so well groomed, polite and mainstream. I would estimate that 50% of the crowd were 20 somethings. The biggest difference I see in the 20 somethings is that they accept themselves so much more than my generation and therefore don't feel a need to act out.

Continue reading "The View From Your Protest: Denver" »

15 Nov 2008 05:49 pm

The View From Your Protest: Atlanta


15 Nov 2008 05:48 pm

The View From Your Protest: Vermont

A reader writes:

It's been a gray and intermittently rainy day in the Green Mountain State. Our protest took place in front of the Burlington City Hall, which is at the foot of the Church St. pedestrian mall. Despite the weather, I'd estimate that 250 people turned out.

The basic theme of the speakers was: Vermont needs to return to its place at the head of the line when it comes to GLBTQ rights. Robyn Maguire, field director for the Vermont Freedom to Marry Task Force, served as emcee and told the crowd to volunteer to help lay the foundation for a bill to be introduced next year (which really means in a few months) that would open civil marriage to gay couples. What I found striking, though, was that I recognized no one who had been a part of the battle for civil unions eight years ago. The crowd was on the young side (and nicely peppered with straights and gays). Maybe the old guard has given way to new leadership that is owning the struggle.

Continue reading "The View From Your Protest: Vermont" »

15 Nov 2008 05:47 pm

The View From Your Protest: Sacramento, California


A reader writes:

It was a truly eclectic group, as fits the local culture - a liitle urban hipster, a little suburban, a little left over hippie, a little rural. The mood overall was pretty up. A lot of emotion in the speeches, not a lot of substance as to where we go. I would put the number around 2 to 3 thousand.

15 Nov 2008 05:42 pm

The View From Your Protest: NYC


A reader writes:

Went to the rally at City Hall in NYC today and was struck by the celebratory mood in the air. Today felt like the first time we got a glimpse around the corner the country is beginning to turn, like everyone knew we would win this thing despite the latest setback. It may take longer than we'd prefer, but America will still come through. Today simply reaffirmed that for me, and I didn't appear to be alone.

That's how it felt in DC too. Yes We Will.

15 Nov 2008 05:41 pm

The View From Your Protest: Iowa City


15 Nov 2008 05:40 pm

The View From Your Protest: Corvallis, Oregon

A reader writes:

I am 35 years old, straight & a military veteran. I have never in my life participated in a civil protest before, but today I couldn’t ignore the call.

Today is game-day at OSU’s Beaver Stadium in Corvallis, so the traffic was very heavy for this college town of 50,000. There were a few haters giving us the thumbs-down or other rude gestures on the way to the game, but overwhelmingly the response was enthusiastic & supportive honking from the football crowd. Of the 100+ protesters, a very large portion of them were straight and there with their spouse or family.

My gay brother-in-law Mark passed away a few weeks ago. I wish he could have lived a little while longer to see this fight finally won.

15 Nov 2008 05:39 pm

The View From Your Protest: San Francisco


A reader writes:

I attended the pro-gay marriage protest in San Francisco this morning, and I have never seen a protest that badly organized in all my years attending badly organized protests in San Francisco. There were lots of people there, for sure, and the organizers should be commended for getting the word out. But there was no stage, so no one could see the people who came to rally us.

Continue reading "The View From Your Protest: San Francisco" »

15 Nov 2008 05:38 pm

The View From Your Protest: DC


A reader writes:

As a straight man, and a lifelong Republican (until the Palin pick), I was rare company at the DC Prop. 8 protest. I went because discriminating against homosexual marriages isn't just wrong, it's ridiculous.

Walking through the crowd in front of the US Capitol, I was nearly moved to tears. To look into the faces of so many people and realizing that their lives felt incomplete, that they were told by our government and by many in our society that they are somehow less than human, that they do not deserve the same rights as everyone else, was nothing short of depressing.

This was my first protest march ever; yet, through the cold rain of a November Saturday, for far longer than I'd walk on any other day, in the company of people with little in common with me, I felt completely fulfilled. The protesters felt like family.

15 Nov 2008 05:32 pm

Back From The DC Protest

Apologies for the lack of posts. Aaron and I were at the protest in DC, and just got back. It was really uplifting: a great vibe, even in the rain. A big turnout, skewed young, gay and straight, all races and colors and creeds. In the twenty years I've been fighting the marriage fight, I have never seen the gay and gay-friendly population this energized on this issue. It took me back to the 1980s and 1990s, but the atmosphere was more confident, more mainstream, and less angry. I have no doubt any more that we will win.

And as we marched past the World War II Memorial, with Lincoln in the background, something a little miraculous happened. A rainbow broke out over the capitol past the Washington Monument.

15 Nov 2008 05:20 pm

The View from Your Protest: Minneapolis


A reader writes:

I'm not very good at counting these things, but I'd say we had about 1,500 at the rally, an astonishing number considering that the organizing for this started Monday night, there wasn't even a vote in Minnesota on gay rights issues, and temps were in the mid-30s. The sun had come out for the first time in days. It was mostly people in their 20s, and a surprising number of straight couples and families with children. There were no counter-protesters. There were no anti-Mormon signs or statements from the speakers. In fact, state senator Scott Dibble, an openly gay man, said of those who supported Prop 8: "They are good people. They care about their families. We must show them how much we care about ours."

15 Nov 2008 05:19 pm

The View From Your Protest: Anchorage, Alaska


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