A demonstration by the gay community in front of City Hall on Tuesday appeared at first glance to be out of place in Laguna.
About 100 opponents of Proposition 8 gathered on the corner of Loma Place and Forest Avenue, waving placards urging the overturn of the state constitutional amendment, which was approved by a majority of voters in November.
However, the city is on record in opposition to the proposition that stipulates that only marriages between a man and a woman are valid in California, and only a minority of Laguna voters cast ballots in favor of it.
“We came because we heard that supporters of the proposition were going to be here,” one demonstrator said.
The proposition supporters were no-shows and the opponents took the opportunity to express their thanks to the council for its support.
“I have never had chance to say how proud I am of a city council that could bet a 100% vote on anything, much less on a divisive issue like Proposition 8,” Bo Powell said.
The Rev. Lillian Lobb thanked the council for the courage to take a stand against the proposition and encouraged them to continue to protect civil rights.
Barbara Williams Pemberton said civil marriage is a civil right that she supports.
“When you [the council] stood up for civil rights, it meant so much to me,” said a choked-up Ed Todeschini.
He said he found a haven in Laguna, where he didn’t have to fear what would happen when boys came to his home on Halloween.
“You just have no idea,” he said.
Barbara McMurray, a wife and mother, called Laguna an oasis of ideals.
She hated the notion that gay rights were put on a ballot.
“But Laguna did the right thing and 68% of the voters opposed Proposition 8,” McMurray said.
Former Laguna Beach Democratic Club President Audrey Prosser thanked the council for its support in the quest to overturn the proposition, which included adding the city’s name to the challenge to amendment to the state constitution, filed by the city of San Francisco. Oral arguments are set to be heard Thursday.
Prosser also expressed her appreciation to the police department for providing a safe and peaceful condition during protests.