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Supreme Court Prop 8 Decision Protest
Police were arresting over 100 people this afternoon who blocked an intersection at SF City Hall today to protest the California Supreme Court’s decision to uphold Prop 8.
This afternoon San Francisco police have been arresting over 100 people who occupied the intersection of Grove and Van Ness Streets following the California Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Proposition 8 results.
In case you’ve been in another universe, Proposition 8 made it illegal for queer people to marry in California. It passed by the proverbial “slim majority.” The Supremes decided to let the 36,000 queer folk who got married when it was still legal maintain that status.
After hearing the court’s 10 a.m. decision today, some of those gathered took to the streets in protest, then sat down in one big circle in the intersection of Van Ness and Grove, catty corner to City Hall.
At least as many if not more SF police formed a cordon around the eastern part of the circle, and another line bisected the circle across the intersection. The western part of the circle was left unguarded. More police were positioned around the Civic Center.
Outside the police lines supporters and the curious formed another circle. The mood was at times angry, playful, spirited and determined.
Vehicular traffic was closed down on Van Ness, initially from Market to Golden Gate Avenue, then from Hayes to Golden Gate. Grove next to City Hall was also closed to traffic, except for the dozen or so police vans waiting for their human cargo.
The people in the inner circle today were not the ruling elite, but the excluded, denied their civil right to what most people take for granted, whether they want it or not: marriage. Many of them wore white tee shirts that read, “Separate Is Not Equal,” At times they chanted, along with the crowd, “What do we want? Equal rights! When do we want them? Now!” and “Equal marriage is our right, we won’t give up without a fight!”
Around noon the cops started getting people in the protest circle on their feet, lashing their hands behind their backs with plastic cuffs, and taking them over to be “processed,” before they were put in the paddy wagons.
As I watched this happening I saw a woman dressed in black with a ponytail, a bald man in a friar’s costume, a woman with a cleric’s collar and a man with dyed red hair being arrested.
The sight of queer people in San Francisco committing civil disobedience to protest their lack of civil rights in 2009 was truly surrealistic and chilling all at once.
Just then a sign caught my eye. It read, “Did We Vote on Your Marriage?”
Not a costume. But a bona fide friar in the Episcopal Church.