San Diego - Today in an unprecedented turnout, 20 - 25,000 people flocked to downtown San Diego to participate in a peaceful protest march against Proposition 8. Peaceful. Apparently, Prop 8 opposition has finally wised up. In order to enforce peace with a crowd this size, a handful of anti-Prop 8 volunteers were recruited to be trained in crowd-control a few days prior to the march. "The Enforcers" wore yellow shirts and covered different sections of the march as it wound its way through the heart of San Diego. A megaphone was employed at the beginning of the march to issue a reassuring and calming reminder that the protest was planned to be peaceful and ought to remain so. Organizers handed out fliers with "approved" chants for marchers. Messages on homemade signs were extremely toned down compared with the threats and hate speech (mostly directed at the LDS "Mormon" Church) normally visible.
This march was one of many planned across the nation by Join the Impact. Representatives of this organization specifically requested that marchers remember to be respectful and refrain from lashing out at counter-protesters attending rallies.
One such counter-protester, David Cruz, resident of College Area, San Diego, stood holding a "Yes on 8" sign with his three buddies at a corner along the San Diego march route. He said he wanted to remind marchers that the majority of California voters had spoken by passing Proposition 8 on November 4. Cruz told reporters, "They are not going to overturn the will of the majority." According to the San Diego Union Tribune," Just after he spoke, marcher David Gonzales pushed toward Cruz, screaming that he was a disgrace. March volunteers kept them separated and Gonzales moved on."
One other counter-protester, at a different point along the route, was arrested by police following a fight. He was discovered to be a member of the anti-illegal immigration San Diego Minutemen vigilante group.
In a statement to the press today, Marriage Equality USA spokeswoman Molly McKay asserted, "Today is a national tipping point. History will look back on this day as the day that the national LGBT community rose up and said 'We are not going back."
San Diego County voted in favor of Proposition 8, 54% to 46%.
Similar rallies were held in cities across the nation including Manhattan, San Francisco, LA, and Sacramento.
Even while one sign in the San Francisco protest declared "Abort the Mormons," organizers and speakers...
"emphasized the importance of pushing affirmatively for full rights in marriage and other aspects of society, rather than turning on groups because of a perceived lack of support."
Rev. Dr. Penny Nixon, former senior minister at the Metropolitan Community Church, warned "We put salt on everyone's wounds when we scapegoat and place blame. We cannot speak about each other in this way. It will kill us."
Assemblyman Mark Leno reminded protesters that the vote for Prop 8 was much closer a race than the vote for Prop 22, eight years ago: "We gained 18 points, they lost 18 points. Momentum is on our side. History is on our side."
We shall see. We shall see. Actually, as a purely personal interjection here, my opinion is that we will, in fact, see the legalization of same-sex marriage sometime in the near future. The part that remains to be seen is the effect of that legalization on family, on marriage, on children, on education, on government, etc. Those who plead that we not "legislate love" choose not to believe there are any possible negative repercussions of legalized same-sex marriage when, in fact, there are documented cases of issues arising in Massachusetts already, a mere four years after the state legalized SSM. I, personally, do not want to find out. I would rather we work toward the gay community having absolute equal rights without having the word marriage. I would rather we work toward true tolerance of a people rather than force the acceptance of a deviant, and, for some, immoral lifestyle on the greater American public.