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Protest at Mormon Temple in Oakland
On Sunday, November 9, more than 1000 people supporting the right of gay people to marry demonstrated at the Mormon Temple in the Oakland Hills. The protested targeted the Mormons who contributed over $18 million to the hate filled Proposition 8 campaign that banned gay marriage in the state. Police closed freeway exits and the streets near the temple as angry protesters lined the sidewalks outside the temple.
On election day, November 4, Proposition 8 passed in California. This proposition amended the California constitution to declare only “marriage between a man and a woman” would be recognized in the state—in effect reversing a June 17 California Supreme Court decision that allowed gay marriage. Now, this “Yes” vote on Proposition 8—by a margin of 52% to 48%—has effectively ended that right and, by changing the constitution itself, has made it much harder for the right to be restored.
The reaction to the passage of Proposition 8 has been immediate, and angry.
Los Angeles: Several groups announced a protest meeting in the City of West Hollywood the day after the election. West Hollywood is a city next to LA with a large and visible gay and lesbian population. Speakers voiced support for the election of Barack Obama as president and promised support for the lawsuits that had already been filed to invalidate the hateful proposition. But people in the crowd were impatient and were ready to step out into the streets and resist. An hour into the rally, two young women went into the street, and were arrested by LA County sheriffs. Hundreds, then thousands, of people followed their example, and marched off. With rainbow flags and clenched fists in the air, they marched east into Los Angeles. Homemade signs read “Equality Now!” “No Hate,” “Go to Hell Mormon Church” (the Mormons were among the reactionary religious groups who backed Proposition 8), “What Will They Take From YOU?” The cry went up “Gay, Straight, Black, White, Marriage is a Civil Right”…
Once the march kicked off, several thousand took to the streets and marched on CNN several miles away, and then moved to the tourist destination at Hollywood and Highland where they were met by phalanxes of LAPD riot police. In the face of this, one bold protestor ran through an LAPD police line and jumped onto, and then up and down on, a black and white police car, causing a sensation among the crowds of people. As this was happening simultaneous marches were occurring over a wide area of the city, with many thousands involved, and support growing. The following day thousands marched on a Mormon temple in West Los Angeles.
One man at the protest said gays are among the first targets, but others are going to be next. Another person pointed out that passing a proposition like this in California, which is supposed to be a liberal state, would set a very bad precedent. The defiance, righteous anger, and no business as usual character of this upsurge is a welcome development that needs to spread.
San Francisco: “We Will Not Be Quiet” Chanting, “Whose Rights? Our Rights!” and “We will not be quiet!” more than ten thousand demonstrators took to the streets of San Francisco on Friday evening November 7 to protest the passage of Proposition 8 in California, blocking traffic during rush hour on Market Street, the main thoroughfare through San Francisco’s downtown and filling the streets of the famous Castro District and other parts of the city with a spirit of defiance. A large group of the protesters took the intersection of 9th and Market near San Francisco City Hall for hours, locking arms and refusing to move. The crowd was made up of mainly people in their 20s or younger and of all nationalities. Many heard of the protest on Facebook or via text messages from their friends or from signs posted in subway stations. This was the second protest in San Francisco in the three days since the election.
Around the country: The Salt Lake City Tribune reported that on Friday, November 7, “More than 3,000 people swarmed downtown Salt Lake City to march past the LDS temple and church headquarters, protesting Mormon involvement in the campaign for California’s Proposition 8.” And that after a rally, “the masses headed west…shouting chants such as: ‘What do we want? Equality! When do we want it? Now!’” In Chicago more than 500 people protested the induction of Christian fascist James Dobson into the Radio Hall of Fame – Dobson and his Focus on the Family organization played a major role in getting that proposition onto the ballot and in the campaign for its passage.