Taking It to the Streets
Posted Nov,. 21, 2008
Leah Heagy
Groups gathered on the corner of Foothill Boulevard and Haven Avenue in Rancho Cucamonga on Nov. 11 to protest the passing of Proposition 8. The proposition eliminates the right of same-sex couples to marry in California. Several lawsuits have been filed since the election to invalidate Proposition 8. The state has become divided over this issue, when the election brought to light the controversial topic.

Proposition 8 eliminated the right of same-sex couples to marry in California two weeks ago, putting an end to dueling campaign commercials and rampant sign snatchings. Nevertheless, there is no end in sight for the controversy.

The state supreme court has agreed to rule on the legality of the ballot measure.

“It has been difficult for me to deal with the fact that I helped take rights away from other people,” Rachel Simanjuntak, a Mt. San Antonio College music major, said. “But I’m glad I stood up for what I believe is right.”

The California State Constitution will now read, “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California,” after 52.2 percent of Californians voted in favor of the gay marriage ban. However, the other 47.8 percent of Californians feel less than glad at the outcome.

The No on Proposition 8 campaign made it clear that the fight is not exactly over, proudly displaying its statement, “We will not give up. And we are not done,” on its Web site, www.noonprop8.com.

The group already has support from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, who voted on Nov. 12 to join a lawsuit that challenges the constitutionality of Proposition 8.

Since the election, gays, lesbians and supporters of same-sex marriage upset over the outcome have been protesting throughout the Los Angeles area almost every day.

In possibly the largest Proposition 8 rally yet, more than 10,000 protesters assembled on the streets of Santa Monica Boulevard and Sunset Avenue in Silver Lake on Nov. 8. Many held signs that read, “STOP H8.”

Rallies took place close to home as well. UV Rainbow Alliance participated in a humble protest in front of Pomona City Hall on Saturday.

“Our focus is to get gay couples the same rights as straight couples and for them to be recognized across the nation,” David Bayless, faculty adviser for the Rainbow Alliance, said.

While the Rainbow Alliance promotes gay marriage, its members say they strongly believe in both sides being heard.

On Nov. 3, members handed out information in Sneaky Park that shed light on both sides of the debate.

“It was important for us to give balanced information on the issue,” Bayless said. He has been affiliated with the club for four years.

There is no doubt that Proposition 8 was the hottest proposition on the ballet this election season, taking in more than $70 million of campaign funds combined for both sides.

“I think that eventually it will be overturned,” Van Perkins, a community religious liberty leader, said. “I see that protesters in the street are very angry, and people may want to change their minds on the basis of gaining peace.”

The future remains uncertain for both sides as proponents wonder whether their victory will turn into failure, and opponents wonder what will happen to the more than 18,000 same-sex marriages that have been performed since May.

It is not yet clear if those marriages will be nullified; however, many counties have stopped issuing marriage licenses across the state.

“I am saddened and offended that this is happening,” Stephanie Turner, ULV senior history major, said. “It makes me want to expatriate immediately.”

It is indisputable that the issue over same-sex marriage has made both sides feel like they are the victims.

Opponents argue that their fundamental rights as citizens have been attacked while proponents say that they themselves are under attack.

“I definitely feel victimized,” Simanjuntak said. “I think that the expression of my opinion in the form of a vote has shed a hostile light on a lot of Christians, making us look like the bad guys. It’s really a two-way street.”

Proposition 8 has divided many Californians and many faiths. Churches like St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Pomona denounces Proposition 8 on its Web site, while the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Glendora still displays its “Yes on 8” signs.

For many religious officials, the decision comes down to defending liberty or defending morality.

“As a promoter of religious liberty, I am conflicted and find myself voting on the opposite side,” Perkins said. “But when I reason from cause-to-effect and find out that the final effect will be an effect on the moral aspect of society, I am forced to vote ‘yes.’”

One thing is for certain. California's State Constitution put Proposition 8 into immediate effect the day after the election.

Time can only tell what the future will hold.

Mark Vidal can be reached at mark.vidal@laverne.edu.

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