Marriage equality advocates react, then move into campaign mode
Video of May 26's anti-Prop 8 rally. Video by Rebecca Bowe. For more videos from that day, click here .
An estimated 10,000 people turned out in San Francisco May 26 for a day of rallies and marches staged in reaction to the California Supreme Court's decision to uphold Proposition 8, the voter-approved measure passed in November 2008 that outlawed same-sex marriage in California. Expressing anger and frustration with the news, same-sex couples and advocates for marriage equality nonetheless vowed to push ahead with a new fight to overturn Prop. 8 at the ballot.
"Today's court decision means we have to go back to the ballot," Abdi Soltani, executive director of the Northern California chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, told a crowd gathered outside San Francisco City Hall. "The issue is not whether we go back to the ballot. The key question for us to tackle now is what we have to do in order to win at the ballot. That's the difficult work that is ahead for all of us."
It was an emotional day for same-sex couples. Protesters took to the streets in permitted and spontaneous marches, and 200 arrests were made after a sit-in was staged at Van Ness and Grove streets around midday.
"It's a sad day to be a Californian, as far as I'm concerned. I'm embarrassed," Castro District resident Hank Doonan, standing arm in arm with his partner Michael Talty, told the Guardian. Talty displayed his engagement ring. "We're still getting married, and it doesn't matter," he asserted with a note of defiance. "But we're really sad today."
Molly McKay, media director for nationwide same-sex marriage advocacy group Marriage Equality USA, appeared at the San Francisco rally in a wedding dress. "I'm sorry we have to keep fighting the same battle," she told the Guardian later. "But I'm proud of all the people who turned out."