Thousands of gay rights activists have
been lining the streets of California cities to express their deep
anger, frustration and demoralization at the November 4 passage of
Proposition 8, the ballot initiative that revokes the right of gays
and lesbians to marry in the state. And this week, organizers said
they were ready to take their fight global.
If one of the goals of backers of the
gay marriage ban in California was to silence gay marriage
supporters, they might as well kiss that idea goodbye. As the
grassroots coalition of loosely-organized groups on such websites as
Facebook and MySpace succeeded in delivering winning numbers of
protesters in California and Utah, momentum for a national, and even
international, effort has emerged.
Signs that California was about to
export its newly-found gay activism first appeared over the weekend.
In Chicago, several hundred protesters
braved a cold wind to protest Saturday's induction of Focus on the
Family founder James Dobson into the National Radio Hall of Fame at
their annual induction ceremonies.
Among the offenses gay rights activists
listed against Dobson was his financial and public support of
banning gay marriage in California, Arizona and Florida, along with a
ballot initiative in Arkansas that banned gay couples from fostering
or adopting children.
“It is mind-blowing, that the Radio
Hall of Fame honored a leader of Proposition 8,” said Wayne Besen,
executive director of Truth Wins Out, a pro-gay media watchdog group.
“Dobson put his media empire and vast amounts of money into the
service of denying equal marriage rights for same-sex couples. And,
the Radio Hall of Fame reacted by giving this demagogue a trophy.”
again on Wednesday, in New York City, thousands of gay rights
activists lined themselves along Columbus Ave. outside of the
Manhattan Mormon Temple near Lincoln Center to protest Mormon
involvement in the passage of Proposition 8.
Gay rights activists say the Mormon
Church's meddling – and overwhelming financial support – in
California politics tipped approval of the gay marriage ban. Many of
the protests in California were directed at the Mormon Church.
“I'm fed up and disgusted with
religious institutions taking political stances and calling them
moral when it's nothing but politics,” Dennis Williams, a protester at the New York City event, told The
Associate Press. “Meanwhile they enjoy tax-free status while
tying to deny me rights that should be mine at the state and federal
gay marriage in New York remains illegal, gay rights leaders remain
hopeful that a newly-elected Democratic-controlled Legislature will
address gay marriage in the upcoming session. New York does
recognize legal gay marriages performed elsewhere.
With Chicago and New York City
successfully behind them, gay rights activists set their sights on a
grander stage. Saturday's National
Protest Against Prop 8 aims to place a pro-gay protest on the
front steps of every city hall in America, and several international
cities as well.
effort is being coordinated at the website jointheimpact.com.
massive,” gay rights veteran Scott Robbe told Reuters.
is fundamentally unfair and unconstitutional to deny to some citizens
the rights and protections given to others,” Scott Touchstone said
in a press release announcing Atlanta's protest.
Gay rights activists say it's no longer
about gay marriage and it's no longer about Proposition 8; they say
it's only about homophobia.
“This is not a California issue,”
it says at jointheimpact.com, which urges people “to unite our
voices against H8 and other recent legislation that seeks to make
second-class citizens of LGBTQ Americans.”
Others expressed caution at the
wildfire of pro-gay protests sweeping the nation.
“PFLAG's hope is that our community
will remember, as they continue to speak out about why Proposition 8
hurts our families, that our movement's objective should be to bring
new allies onboard and to dialogue with those who disagreed with us
on Election Day,” Steve Ralls, director of communications at
Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), told On
Top Magazine in an email.