Actions planned for
day of Prop 8 decision
by Matthew S. Bajko
LGBT activists plan to either party in the streets or mobilize protests on the day the U.S. Supreme Court issues its ruling in the Proposition 8 case.
This month the court is expected to rule on the lawsuit known as Hollingsworth v. Perry. It is possible that the justices will overturn Prop 8, California's anti-gay constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage that voters adopted in 2008.
It is also expected to decide in a federal case known as U.S. v. Windsor that could see Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act struck down. Such a ruling would allow the federal government to recognize same-sex marriages sanctioned at the state level.
The court normally issues its rulings at 7 a.m. Pacific time Mondays and Thursdays. It is unclear if it will announce the Prop 8 and DOMA decisions at once or on different days.
"I think it is highly likely the decisions will come out on the same day because they were argued one after the other on two days and the issues are related," said John Lewis, on organizer with Marriage Equality USA. "I think everybody is anticipating for it to come out on the same day and all the planning going on is for one big event."
When it does release its decision in the Prop 8 case, rallies are planned to occur that evening in both San Francisco and San Jose.
In San Francisco a group of volunteers known as the Day of Decision Committee is planning for a party, hopefully, in the heart of the gay Castro district. Police are expected to shut down the 400 and 500 blocks of Castro Street from 5:30 to 9 p.m. for the event.
Drivers are being warned to avoid parking on Castro Street the evening of the decision; cars will not be towed but vehicles could be stuck there until after the event ends.
Should Prop 8 be struck down then the plan is to have sound trucks with DJs playing music and speeches by community leaders. Similar events have been held in the past to either celebrate or protest court decisions.
"When something major happens in the LGBT civil rights movement what you do is go to Castro and Market to be there with the community win or lose," noted Lewis, who recalled attending an event there in 1986 to protest the Supreme Court's Bowers v. Hardwick decision upholding anti-gay sodomy laws and again in 2003 when the court reversed that decision in its ruling in the Lawrence v. Texas case.
If the court finds Prop 8 to be valid, then the idea would be for people to still gather in the Castro and then march to a different location, likely the federal courthouse in the Civic Center. But organizers behind the Day of Decision event are not planning for the need to march.
The grassroots groups Marriage Equality USA and GetEqual have been spearheading the planning for the celebration along with organizers of the March4Equality event that occurred the night before the Prop 8 hearing before the Supreme Court back in March.
In the South Bay activists will gather at 6 p.m. at San Jose City Hall, 200 East Santa Clara Street. For updates follow the Facebook page Hearts on Silicon Valley at https://www.facebook.com/heartsonsv.
For a complete list of Day of Decision plans around the state and country, visit http://www.lighttojustice.org/.