Local

Thousands Protest Prop 8 across Nation

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Several hundred people showed up at Fresno's city hall as part of the National Day of Protest. Several other demonstrations are planned Sunday as supporters of gay marriage take on the religious groups that supported Proposition 8.

Nearly two weeks after California voters approved a ban on gay marriage, members of Fresno's gay and lesbian community say their fight for equal rights has just begun. They rallied at Fresno's city hall Saturday, many still holding "Vote No on Proposition 8" signs. "Rights were given to us and then eliminated by the majority of people and although the constitution guarantees the protection of the marginalized and the minority, it was allowed to pass," said Prop 8 opponent Robin McGehee.

Though several demonstrations have taken place over the last month, David Stone of Fresno said Saturday's demonstration was his first. "I just felt moved to do this. And I feel we need to speak up and be a little louder and make ourselves heard like everybody else does," said Stone.

Freedom of religion and separation of church and state are also big issues among the Prop 8 opponents. Sunday they're planning even more demonstrations outside of churches that supported the measure, like the Mormon Temple and Cornerstone Church in downtown Fresno.

"I think the Mormon Church has suffered a lot of discrimination over the years and for them to discriminate against another sect of society is hurtful, shameful, and hateful, really," said Prop 8 opponent Shon Nelson.

But Pastor Jim Franklin of Cornerstone Church says enough is enough. "These are tactics to intimidate people from practicing their exercise of religion," said Franklin.

Franklin and other church leaders held a joint news conference Friday speaking out against the growing hostility toward churches following the passage of Prop 8. They're also asking opponents to tone down their protests and let the courts decide what comes next. "When you target people of faith and their houses of worship you're basically saying because we disagree with your faith, we're going to protest that. That's not America," said Franklin.

Across the nation today, tens of thousands of people went to the halls of government to protest California's vote to outlaw same sex marriages. A giant crowd rallied at San Francisco's city hall, and marched across the city, to protest prop 8.

Thousands of people protested at other city halls across the country as well, including Orlando, Florida and Boston.

Some leaders in the gay community are calling for a unique protest against prop 8. Next month, they're calling for what they're dubbing a "Day without a Gay."

On December 10th, they want gays and lesbians to quote "call in gay" to work and donate their day to volunteer work.

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