HRC Blog

Hundreds Gather Outside California City Hall in Support of Marriage Equality

Post submitted by Ian Hart, Political Co-chair of the HRC San Francisco Bay Area steering committee, with photos by Heather Freyer.

Monday night, hundreds marched from San Francisco’s Harvey Milk Plaza to stand at City Hall, calling on the Supreme Court to declare California’s Proposition 8 unconstitutional once and for all, and further, to end the indignity and injustice of the so-called Federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The dress code was practical (ski hats, gloves, and overcoats on the chilly San Francisco night), but the accessories were enthusiastic: political signs calling for LGBT rights and marriage equality, bumper stickers and political buttons, and wide smiles.

At the event, hundreds more gathered to cheer speakers who addressed the many injustices of Proposition 8 and DOMA, while speaking optimistically that the Supreme Court’s wisdom will lead to the overturning of those laws. Indeed, this optimism was reflected in the recurring theme of the evening, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice,” as attributed to the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Speakers represented a wide facet of the gay experience, including couples denied the right to marry, married couples who face ongoing federal discrimination under DOMA, bi-national couples who have been forced to live in exile, LGBT parents who seek the protection and stability of marriage, and the children of same-sex parents who spoke to the sadness of Prop 8 and a call to end bigotry. Community leaders, ministers, and politicians also spoke to the hope that all Californians – and perhaps all Americans – would soon have the right to marry their loved one, regardless of gender.

The symbolism of the night’s principal locations was lost on no one. The night started in Harvey Milk Plaza, where more than 30 years ago, Harvey himself called on marginalized LGBT Americans to get out of the bars and onto the streets to oppose laws that discriminated against LGBT Americans. Activists then marched down Market Street, walking in the steps of those who protested the passage of Proposition 8 in 2008, which removed the California State Constitutional Right to marriage for same-sex couples. And the march ended at San Francisco’s City Hall, where the seeds of the constitutional case Perry vs. Brown were germinated, and just steps from the Federal Courthouse where Proposition 8 was first found to be unconstitutional.

Community leaders are organizing gatherings at the San Francisco Federal Courthouse for Tuesday and Wednesday, and everyone pledged to return for the day of decision, expected in June.

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