A sign that read “Save Marriage From
Bigotry” poked out from a sea of umbrellas at Willard Park in
Cleveland, Ohio Saturday, where people gathered to protest the
passage of gay marriage bans in California, Florida and Arizona on
Despite a bitter cold wind and
drenching rain, an estimated crowd of 300 gathered at the corner of
East 9th and Lakeside Ave. only blocks away from City
Hall, where an ironic rubber stamp sculpture rests with the
Several police cars surrounded the
protest, but there was no visible evidence of counter-protesters and
plenty of passersby in cars honked in support.
Cities across America – and some
international cities, as well – participated in Join the Impact, a
grassroots response to passage of California's gay marriage ban
patched together in one week from social websites on the Internet and
Traffic at the event's official site
jointheimpact.com was so strong it overwhelmed the website and
crashed the server, organizers said.
Protesting the passage of California's
gay marriage ban in cities outside of California is just another sign
of the heartbreak felt by the gay and lesbian community nationwide.
“Civil marriages are a civil right,
and we're going to keep fighting until we get the rights we deserve
as American citizens,” Karen Amico, who was protesting in
Philadelphia, told The Associated Press.
“We are the American family, we live
next door to you, we teach your children, we take care of your
elderly,” said Heather Baker in Boston. “We need equal rights
across the country.”
“And sometimes it feels we felt our
whole lifetime digging out the lies that other people tell about us,
but the truth is this: We are a movement based on love,” said
Reverend Dr. Penny Nickson at San Francisco's rally.
“I'm proud to be a black woman, and
I'm proud to be gay,” comedian Wanda Sykes told the crowd attending
a Las Vegas rally.
“Gay, straight, black, white.
Marriage equality is a civil right,” protesters chanted at a rally
in Albany, New York.
“Equal rights for all God's
children,” a speaker said in Cleveland.
“No one in this country should be a
second-class citizen,” Kellan Baker who helped organize the event
told a crowd of more than 500 at Lafayette Park across from the White
The wildfire of protests sparked by
California voters' decision to amend their constitution to ban gay
marriage has been the unforeseen political boomerang that stunned
both traditional suit-and-tie gay activists and opponents of gay
There was only a minuscule outcry heard
when thirty states began banning gay marriage ten years ago, but
California has been a game changer.
In California, voters not only banned
gay marriage, they also reversed a California Supreme Court ruling
issued in May that allowed gay marriages to begin. That ruling was
based on the equal protection clause of the California constitution.
Passage of the gay marriage ban leaves 18,000 gay marriages hanging
by a thread.
Months before Election Day, resentment
started brewing on the Internet over the notion that it is fair or
democratic to revoke rights granted by the constitution and upheld by
the California Supreme Court, providing a ready-made base of pro-gay
foot soldiers eager to express their disappointment; it only took a
text message or social invitation to propel thousands to protest.
Seattle blogger Amy Balliett, one of
the organizers of Join the Impact, said she expected 1 million people
to protest in unison Saturday against gay marriage bans at over 300