I am not ashamed to say that I was one of the some 1,200 people who took over two streets in downtown Laguna Beach last Saturday in a good old-fashioned, noisy picket-and-protest march over the passage of Proposition 8, which amends the state constitution to tell people who they can and can’t marry.
It wasn’t my first march — I’ve been marching at various points in my life since high school and the Vietnam Conflict (remember D.C. in 1972? I was there) — but I must say this was one of the most energetic, peaceful and positive protests I’ve ever seen.
After the horrifying passage of Proposition 8, it just felt good to let it all out.
You might say marching is in my blood. I’m a fan of the American Revolution, and since my ancestry hearkens from that moment in American history, it’s in my blood.
My favorite slogan from that time was one that Benjamin Franklin, a fellow journalist, came up with: “Don’t tread on me.” The slogan was printed under a cartoon of a hissing snake and warns the British to “lay off.”
That’s exactly how I feel about Proposition 8. It’s an intrusion into private lives that would be unthinkable were it not now a stain upon our state constitution. And what’s left but to “shout it out”?
Being part of a large “snake” of people last Saturday shouting and raising our candles and fists and demanding “equal rights” was a way of saying “Don’t tread on us.”
Laguna Beach voted down Proposition 8 by a reported 68%, but I was surprised to see so many turn out for a march that had been announced just the day before via e-mail, too late to get into the print edition of this paper.
The anger and outrage over this “abominable amendment” is very real.
Organizers and Lagunans Audrey Prosser and Jorge Rodriguez didn’t have to work hard to whip up the crowd to cheer for “equal rights” and jeer the Mormon Church and others who contributed to the “anti-marriage” clause.
The Mormons, who largely funded the costly Proposition 8 campaign, have really taken it on the chin in this battle, with good reason. Numerous signs at the protest called out the Mormons specifically, with some asking how a group that practiced polygamy at one time could justify any general proscription on marriage. It is baffling.
But hey, the Mormons I know — and they are very nice people — don’t drink coffee or liquor either; isn’t it an affront to them to have all these Starbucks coffee shops and liquor stores operating openly and in public? Close ’em down, I say!
And heck, if we really want to protect marriage — the backbone of our society — then why not take the next logical step and ban divorce? I’m sure the Catholic Pope would be happy to foot the bill for that cause, which all those who voted for Proposition 8 would certainly support, don’t ya think?
Myself, I’d like to call out two of our esteemed public officials who made their personal preference for “straight” marriage known just at the time when they could have helped dampen enthusiasm for this measure, which, like so many ballot initiatives, should never have been put to a public vote in the first place.
Our president-elect, then-Sen. Barack Obama, and our own Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger both said those magic words — “marriage is between a man and a woman” — in the weeks leading up to the election. Obama’s message was then phoned out in his own stentorian voice to voters likely to cast ballots for the first African American presidential candidate. And African Americans voted 70% in favor of Proposition 8.
What the message did not include was Obama’s clarification that he did not support a constitutional amendment allowing only his preference to be the law of the land.
As for our lame-duck Governator, who also opined that “marriage is between a man und a voman,” he now is switching his stance — what, is he now running for office? — telling Proposition 8 opponents to “not give up de fight.”
Thanks, Terminator. Maybe in your next movie you can arrive with your white hat on before the innocent civilians are pulverized by an army of aliens. For those who have not gotten their fill of public outrage, another big march is planned Saturday in downtown Los Angeles.
Also, a video of the Laguna Beach march is posted on our website, coastlinepilot.com.
CINDY FRAZIER is city editor of the Coastline Pilot. She can be contacted at (949) 494-2087 or firstname.lastname@example.org.