Today's gay marriage march and rally in
Fresno, California is the brainchild of Robin McGehee. She spoke
exclusively to Charlotte Robinson, the woman behind the website that
features interviews with prominent gay rights activists, OUTTAKE
Marchers participating in the Meet
in the Middle for Equality march departed from Selma and
converged on Fresno's City Hall about 1PM. Police were expecting
between 3,000 and 5,000 people in Fresno.
McGehee's vision to build support for
marriage equality from the center of the state runs counter to last
year's campaign that focused mostly on liberal coastal cities like
San Francisco and Los Angeles. Fresno was chosen to kick off the new
campaign because its middle-town experience is more representative of
California values and voters, McGehee said.
Gay marriage opponents have decried the
event, saying coming to the Central Valley is akin to likening it to
the segregated South and warned that the effort might backfire.
“[Supporters are] coming there to
stick it in the face of people who know what is good and natural,”
Randy Thomasson, president of SaveCalifornia.com, a group that
opposes gay marriage, told The Fresno Bee. “They
want to make a spectacle of how dark and stupid they think Central
Valley residents are.”
“I think it's time to push the
envelope,” McGehee told Robinson, an Emmy-Winning documentarian.
“It takes courage to stand up in my
own community and fight back, behind enemy lines – you know very
'yes on 8,' very homophobic, very religious right territory,” she
Last year, 69% of Fresno County voters
voted in favor of Proposition 8, the ballot measure that placed a gay
marriage ban in the state constitution.
“We will not ever get a 60% 'No On 8'
vote in Fresno, but I can guarantee you we will move [new
supporters], and we will move in the direction we need to,” she
On the Net: Listen to the entire audio
interview at OUTTAKE