BREAKING NEWS: California Supreme Court upholds Prop 8 but allows marriages to stand; San Francisco protests begin

by on May 26, 2009 · 4 comments

in Civil Disobedience, Civil Rights, Organizing, War and Peace

LOS ANGELES, May 26 — The California Supreme Court upheld a voter-approved constitutional amendment Tuesday that bans same-sex marriage in the state.The court said, however, that those couples who wed in the state under an earlier opinion from the court, will be considered married.

The ruling comes after three months of deliberation and nearly a year after the court struck down state laws that similarly banned such marriages. Then, the court ruled that the laws were unconstitutional and that the unions were a “basic civil right.” This time, factoring in a successful Nov. 4 ballot measure that defines marriage as a union “between a man and a woman” in the state’s constitution, which trumps state laws, the court revealed its hesitancy to override the will of the people.

But Tuesday’s ruling, which has been anticipated for months, hardly settles the matter. The recourse for gay rights activists now is to put the matter to voters again through their own initiative or take the matter to federal court.  [For more, go here.]

SF Crowd screams “Shame on you!” and moves to block traffic around Courthouse

Up to the minute twitter from SFGate

Go here for minute by minute reporting.

UPDATE: Just after 12 noon, first arrests begin, after cops gave orders to clear intersection. Clergy among those first arrested. Hundreds still block intersection, singing, chanting, dancing. A small New Orleans band sets up to lend a spicy flavor to the mix.

– – – – – – – – – – –

Clergy move in to get arrested. No arrests yet. Organizers ask people for their names in case they get arrested.

Most of crowd has moved to Grove at Van Ness. Blocking intersection.  Cops in riot gear arriving on scene. Still pretty calm. Lots of chanting. Rabbi Sydney Mintz awaits her first arrest. “It’s the right thing to do.”

Cops state that every officer in the intersection is LGBT.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Dave Gilbert May 26, 2009 at 3:44 pm

That’s disappointing that people continue to discriminate against their brothers & sisters….

Get Together (by the Youngbloods)

Love is but the song we sing,
And fear’s the way we die
You can make the mountains ring
Or make the angels cry
Know the dove is on the wing
And you need not know why

C’mon people now,
Smile on your brother
Ev’rybody get together
Try and love one another right now

Some will come and some will go
We shall surely pass
When the one that left us here
Returns for us at last
We are but a moments sunlight
Fading in the grass

C’mon people now,
Smile on your brother
Ev’rybody get together
Try and love one another right now

If you hear the song I sing,
You must understand
You hold the key to love and fear
All in your trembling hand
Just one key unlocks them both
It’s there at your command

C’mon people now,
Smile on your brother
Ev’rybody get together
Try and love one another right now
Right now
Right now!


not a redneck in east county May 26, 2009 at 4:22 pm

I am shocked.
And not surprised.

You hold the key to love and fear
All in your trembling hand
Just one key unlocks them both
It’s there at your command

I hear ya Dave.


Wireless Mike May 26, 2009 at 6:30 pm

Separation of Church and State implies that a church cannot enforce its rules on people who are not members of the church. But with the court upholding Prop 8, church rules have been written into the State Constitution. That sets a dangerous precedent.

We will eventually overcome this church-sanctioned bigotry. Medieval Europe overcame the Inquisition and New England overcame the Putitans.

Thanks, Dave, that was one of my favorite songs back in the day. It’s amazing how much of the old music has become relevant again.


Michael Steinberg May 26, 2009 at 6:48 pm

This afternoon San Francisco police have been arresting over 100 people who occupied the intersection of Grove and Van Ness Streets following the California Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Proposition 8 results.

In case you’ve been in another universe, Proposition 8 made it illegal for queer people to marry in California. It passed by the proverbial “slim majority.” The Supremes decided to let the 36,000 queer folk who got married when it was still legal maintain that status.

After hearing the court’s 10 a.m. decision today, some of those gathered took to the streets in protest, then sat down in one big circle in the intersection of Van Ness and Grove, catty corner to City Hall.

At least as many if not more SF police formed a cordon around the eastern part of the circle, and another line bisected the circle across the intersection. The western part of the circle was left unguarded. More police were positioned around the Civic Center.

Outside the police lines supporters and the curious formed another circle. The mood was at times angry, playful, spirited and determined.

Vehicular traffic was closed down on Van Ness, initially from Market to Golden Gate Avenue, then from Hayes to Golden Gate. Grove next to City Hall was also closed to traffic, except for the dozen or so police vans waiting for their human cargo.

The people in the inner circle today were not the ruling elite, but the excluded, denied their civil right to what most people take for granted, whether they want it or not: marriage. Many of them wore white tee shirts that read, “Separate Is Not Equal,” At times they chanted, along with the crowd, “What do we want? Equal rights! When do we want them? Now!” and “Equal marriage is our right, we won’t give up without a fight!”

Around noon the cops started getting people in the protest circle on their feet, lashing their hands behind their backs with plastic cuffs, and taking them over to be “processed,” before they were put in the paddy wagons.

As I watched this happening I saw a woman dressed in black with a ponytail, a bald man in a friar’s costume, a woman with a cleric’s collar and a man with dyed red hair being arrested.

The sight of queer people in San Francisco committing civil disobedience to protest their lack of civil rights in 2009 was truly surrealistic and chilling all at once.

Just then a sign caught my eye. It read, “Did We Vote on Your Marriage?”


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