The passage of California’s Proposition 8 — a ballot measure that sought to amend the state’s constitution to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry — has sparked outrage and sadness among gays in that state. It’s also provoked protests, riots and lawsuits.
According to The Associated Press, thousands of people took to the streets of Los Angeles and West Hollywood, California, on Wednesday night for an hours-long, mostly peaceful rally protesting Proposition 8, which passed with 52 percent of the votes (close to 5.2 million).
What began as a small protest of 1,000 swelled to more than 4,000 before the night was through. Protesters blocked traffic, and reports suggest that up to seven people were arrested for disturbing the peace. Aerial footage of the protest also seems to indicate that police used force against at least some of those who attended the rally. Other footage shows at least one marcher standing atop a police car. He was wrestled to the ground by police.
An additional group of about 500 protesters gathered outside CNN’s Los Angeles bureau, where they were seen banging on the doors and walls and hoisting signs protesting the ban. In response to the rally, the Los Angeles Police Department issued a tactical alert, which called on all the department’s officers, and some from surrounding precincts, to respond.
Meanwhile, hundreds gathered outside San Francisco’s City Hall, with some holding candles and carrying signs with messages like, “We all deserve the freedom to marry.” Statewide, three legal challenges were filed Wednesday, with others still being prepared by Prop 8 opponents.
According to one person who attended the rally, the event came together largely through Facebook and word of mouth. In addition, West Hollywood Mayor Jeff Prang issued an e-mail alert, informing residents that streets would be closed off to accommodate the rally.
While Proposition 8′s passage was a hotly contested issue in California, there was national opposition to the ballot measure. Several celebrities spoke out against the proposed ban, including Fall Out Boy, who, on Wednesday, sat down with MTV News’ John Norris to reflect on its approval.
“It’s interesting how forward-thinking we come off by electing Barack Obama, but then how in the dark we still are by voting yes on Prop 8,” guitarist Joe Trohman said. “It’s sad how it’s an obvious civil-rights issue, and sometimes, it’s hard for people to look back in history and say, ‘We’ve made these awful mistakes. Why don’t we just man up and realize maybe we’re being a little too bigoted?’ ”
“The thing that bums me out is this is a hindrance on same-sex property ownership, the rights of visitation for same-sex couples,” frontman Patrick Stump said. “These are basic human rights. It’s a real shame people are mixing up their church and state.”