As part of a nationwide effort organized by Join the Impact and held simultaneously at 1:30 E.S.T. today, thousands gathered at New York’s City Hall to protest gay marriage bans recently enacted in Arizona, California, and Florida, and a ban on adoption for unmarried couples in Arkansas. Protestors focused on the California’s Proposition 8, which passed with 52% of the vote, contradicting pre-Election Day poll predictions. The ban “eliminates the right of same-sex couples to marry” and marks the first time in history that civil rights have been removed from the constitution by popular vote. Because California is considered influential in public policy, the impact of Proposition 8 is being felt around the country.
Participants listened to several speakers, displayed rainbow flags and signs reading “Give Love a Chance,” “Gay is the New Black,” “I Am Not a Second-Class Citizen,” “Should We Sit in the Back of the Bus, Too?” and “Homophobia is a Sin,” and chanted phrases such as “Gay, Straight, Black, White, Marriage is a Civil Right!”
Though protestors were of course disappointed over these latest setbacks in the struggle for equal rights, many expressed hope that Proposition 8 would be overturned. Four lawsuits have been filed with the California Supreme Court arguing that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional: on May 15, the Court overturned the previous gay marriage ban, citing that it violated the Equal Protection Clause by denying gay and lesbian people of their fundamental rights. That clause, as indicated by its name, is intended to protect minority groups from having their civil rights removed by a tyranny of the majority. The California Supreme Court is expected to address the lawsuits in the near future.