Last night in Los Angeles, more than 200 hundred of us took to the streets to remember the devastating passage of Proposition 8 one year ago. And after the defeat in Maine, we had even more reason to remind the world that we won't sit back while our rights are being stripped away.
The battle with Prop 8 is far from over. The federal challenge against it is set to go to trial this January. That's right - trial! It will be the first time a marriage case will have a full trial, with expert witnesses, first-hand accounts and an examination into the motivations of those who work against us.
Chad Griffin of the American Foundation for Equal Rights, the organization behind the Olson/Boies team fighting Prop 8 in court, said "Our founding fathers did not intend for people's Constitutional rights to be determined by political campaigns. The results in Maine underscore exactly why we are challenging California's same sex marriage ban in federal court. When the Supreme Court ruled in Loving v. Virginia, more than 70 percent of Americans disapproved of interracial marriage. The U.S. Constitution guarantees equal rights to every American, and when those rights are violated, it is the role of our courts to protect us, regardless of what the polls say."
On top of the court case, Restore Equality 2010 is working to return marriage equality to California at the ballot next year. They are gearing up for signature gathering and fund-raising.
Their press release states, "Tapping into the anger of Proposition 8 and the loss in Maine, the 'Million for a Million' campaign will include an online fundraising appeal to a network of more than 400,000 grassroots activists, fundraising events in Southern California, Northern California and the Central Valley, and outreach to major donors within the LGBT community in California and throughout the country."
“With a sophisticated online component and with the support we have among the grassroots, I believe we can raise the money necessary to move the campaign for 2010 to the next level,” said Eugene Hedlund, founder of TruthandHope.org, whose organization won awards for its work on the Obama campaign.
Organizations throughout the state have endorsed the “Million for a Million” campaign including: Yes! on Equality; TruthandHope.org; Equality Network; One Struggle, One Fight; Meet in the Middle for Equality; and Restore Equality 2010, whose members include Love Honor Cherish, SAME, Stonewall Democrats, Marriage Equality USA, Latino Equality Alliance and more.
Other groups are focusing on an educational campaign on marriage to lay the foundation for a 2012 ballot initiative. Equality California recently announced that they will be relaunching Let California Ring, an outreach and educational arm of the state's largest LGBT advocacy group.
Courage Campaign, one of the largest progressive netroots organizations in California and on record of being in support of 2010, is currently still conducting in-depth research, while consulting with Obama's Deputy Campaign Manager Steve Hildebrand, to determine the best strategy going forward.
Images by Marta Evry of Venice for Change; slide show by yours truly. (And yes, that's me with Lt. Dan Choi.)
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"All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression."
- Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States, the principal author of the Declaration of Independence, and one of the most influential Founding Fathers.