From coast to coast, from sea to shining sea, people are rising up. Outraged and heartsick over California’s recent passage of anti-gay marriage initiative Proposition 8 — the first time in US history when rights were snatched away from a particular group of citizens — men and women of all hues and orientations are taking it to the streets.
Can you feel the electricity in the air? For years, I have griped that too many people accepted incrementalism or accepted their legalized diminishment meekly. An injustice of cataclysmic proportions, I mused, might be what it takes to energize the apathetic masses to launch a revolution. As tragic as the Prop 8 win was and is, perhaps it served as the spark, the re-igniting of passion and urgency, that the equality movement needed. Or rather, serves: As Jessica Garrett comments in the LA Times, the fuse was lit in California — and the ensuing explosion is still triggering aftershocks.
The passage of Proposition 8 woke them up.
“There is an incredible outpouring of energy, of people wanting to do something,” said Trent Thornley, a San Francisco lawyer who created his Facebook site, Californians Ready to Repeal Prop. 8, the day after the election. Thornley said his roommate told him to expect a few hundred people to join. Instead, a week later, the group has more than 200,000 members.Another Facebook group, Repeal the California Ban on Marriage Equality 2010, also has attracted more than 200,000 members.“It took a catastrophe like this to really wake people up . . . . This is not something that is going to happen. . . . It’s going to take people rising up and pumping their fists in the air.”
But many say the protests also mark the rise of a new generation of gay activists.
“There are people who are used to going to the Abbey [bar in West Hollywood] four nights a week and drinking appletinis and complaining about their boyfriends. They don’t understand that two decades ago they could not be doing what they are doing,” said Andrew Oldershaw, 30, who has become active in organizing protests.
Equality seekers have an opportunity to stand for everyone’s rights under civil law. (Churches, church rites, and the notion of “holy matrimony” is not affected here — we’re talking civil marriage.) All this week, protesters have rallied in various US cities. The formal Nationwide Protest Against Prop 8 takes place Saturday, Nov. 15, in cities all over the country. Please: Get out of the house and do your part. This will be the start of a much-needed revolution only if we all come out and make our voices heard, peacefully but forcefully.
To find protest locations throughout the nation, click here.