When Something’s Wrong, Say So

On Saturday, I attended a Proposition 8 evening protest in Los Angeles. Our protest was part of several across the state, coming to more than 20,000 people protesting the passage of this discriminatory amendment to the state Constitution. There were over 12,000 people in the Los Angeles protest alone.

I had never attended a political rally or protest before. It was a wonderful thing, to march along in this sea of people unwilling to permit the loss of the civil right to marry. The vast majority of them were peaceful, passionate, loving, and even positive: they emphasized the value of marriage and what participating in it means to them. Some of the signs were funny (such as the ones noting wryly that chickens command more public support than gays do–a reference to Proposition 2, which requires more humane treatment of chickens and pigs on farms and passed with 63% of the public vote. Some protesters wore beaks and tailfeathers and carried signs expressing a wish that they could be as lucky as the chickens.) and some were heartbreaking (“Married 6/7/08; Segregated 11/4/08” and “How do you ‘protect’ marriage by banning it?”). Some expressed the inevitable anger: “Keep your Jesus to yourself!” and “I didn’t vote against your marriage!”, or sarcasm: “Protect marriage — ban divorce!”.

The LDS church in particular drew a lot of negative attention due to its massive support for the proposition and encouraging its members to donate in support of it. Signs like “Tax the church!” and chants of “Keep your hate in Salt Lake!” were depressing, both for what they indicate about the church’s activities and for the sentiment they indicate in the protesters.

But overall, there were so many, many people involved, such a large and … oddly … almost happy crowd. Not happy with Prop 8, obviously, but happy to be out in public, sharing views and camaraderie (and drumming and dancing and cheering). I was proud to see them all, proud to march with them and join in the chanting:

What do we want?
When do we want them?

Because even if this proposition does not personally target me, damn it, I still believe in equal marriage rights for all.