Across the United States today, people protested Proposition 8 which passed on Election Day in California, marring an otherwise great day of celebration. Proposition 8 effectively legislated hate in that State. What had been deemed unconstitutional by the State Supreme Court was discarded by popular vote after a great deal of money from different right-wing organizers intent upon outlawing same sex marriage was spent on advertising against the dangers of gays and lesbians marrying the persons that they love. They won by a very small majority.
Just a relatively few days ago, a couple of people in St. Louis began organizing the Show Me No Hate protest. Today, one thousand people showed up to protest the passing of Proposition 8 in total alliance with that large minority in California. We stood in front of and on the steps of the Old Courthouse. This is the same courthouse where the Dred Scott case was first heard in April 1846.
I remember the Vietnam War protests very well. I wanted to be a part of these but was just a few years too young. I remember one “sit-in” staged at L. D. Bell High School in Hurst Texas where I was a sophomore. We “sat-in” the atrium area rather than going to our classes. My part of the sit-in lasted until the principal’s voice came over the loud speaker warning us that all who remained in the atrium after 15 minutes would have calls to their parents placed. This did not seem to me to be a good idea so I left my post and went to class. That was the extent of my protest days.
Until today. Today, I proudly stood in the 35 degree temperatures with the diverse group – black, white, Asian, Latino/a, young, old, teens and tweens. We all stood cheering and holding signs listening to our city leaders tell us to continue on, that one day soon gays and lesbians would have the same rights as straights. We were reminded that until 1967, Barack Obama’s parents could have been charged with the crime of marrying outside their race. We were reminded that it took protests and lots of hard work for Blacks and for women to get the vote. We were reminded that even today racism is alive and running rampant in too many places. We were also reminded that we must take hope from the election just past. This is after all a major step that we have taken – electing a Black man to be President of the United States. We were reminded that as long as we accept anti-gay rhetoric and policies (Boy Scouts, work place bias regarding benefits, etc) we will continue to contribute to our own discrimination. That means that we also have to be aware of just who is funding the anti-gay rhetoric. Who’s money is it anyway?
I suppose that one of the most promising things about today was the number of young people that were there. Who knows if they were gay or straight – all I know is that they were against H8 and were ready to tell it to the world.
Today, I stood proudly with my family amidst the “Love makes a Family” signs. We stood right behind a sign that declared “Equal rights for my mom to marry” and thought of our kids back in Texas and knew that if they were with us, they would be holding that sign. We watched Tucker as he proudly stood with gay and lesbian teenagers shouting “We are gay; we are straight; just say No to Prop 8”. We watched a couple of moms standing with their gay sons and partners.
Today, I stood proudly, knowing the work ahead of us but ready and willing to take this on. I couldn’t help but hear in my head the Beatles’ song Revolution. It seemed appropriate. I don’t think that Howard Ahmansen or the Mormons realized what they were doing when they worked so hard to take away that which had been declared constitutional. I think they may have started a revolution.
I I don’t know how many showed up in the other protests across the nation but in St. Louis, Missouri, I and my family were three of the 1000. Proudly.