Thursday, August 5, 2010

Goodbye, good riddance Prop H8...

Great news and a real reason to celebrate yesterday when the federal judge ruled that California's Proposition 8 (or Hate), which denies same-sex couples the right to marry, was unconstitutional. Thank you Chief Judge Vaughan R. Walker.

West Hollywood Prop 8 overturned celebration rally
Dustin Lance Black West Hollywood gay rally
Even though his decision will be appealed and the U.S. Supreme Court will still have to rule on it, it's a step in the right direction, a major victory for gay rights and it makes me happy.
Gay American freedom flags
I remember when Barack Obama won the November 4, 2008 U.S. Presidential election I was elated because Americans had elected a progressive President, which would be good for the States and the rest of the world.

Sadly at the same time I was totally demoralised that in California Proposition 8 was passed which legally denied the rights of same-sex couples to marry, by a slim majority of 52% of the voters (unfortunately mainly due to hate advertising campaigns by out-of-state religious groups).

Equality for all
Prop 8 overturned WEHO rally
I'd been in L.A. just over six months and so was shocked that somewhere as welcoming for gay people could pass this ruling and that in America, the 'Leader of the free world', where freedom is so valued, that something so discriminatory could be voted in. I was disheartened to say the least.

Gay plaintiffs that helped with unconstitutional Prop 8 ruling
Prop 8 overturned plaintiffs
Now after months of campaigning and with this fantastic result in the courts, I feel as if the world is turning in the right direction again.

West Hollywood rally crowds
Prop 8 overturned West Hollywood rally
Last night from around 6pm in West Hollywood's park, hundreds of people gathered to celebrate this momentous decision and were joined by the legal team and gay plaintiff families in the case that had made it happen.

Lesbian plaintiffs that helped with unconstitutional Prop 8 ruling
Prop 8 overturned WEHO rally
The speeches were enlightening and emotional and there was a real sense of joy, hope and empowerment in the crowd. As I stood there listening with my Labrador, Cooper, surrounded by friends and strangers, there was an amazing sense of community.

John Heilman, the Mayor of West Hollywood and L.A.'s Mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa, welcomed supporters to the rally, but the stars of the evening were Former U.S. Solicitor General Theodore Olson and his co-lead-counsel David Boies, the leaders of the legal team which helped achieve this result.

Attorneys Theodore Olsen and David Boies
Thoedore Olsen David Boies
The Oscar-Winning gay screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, who won an Oscar at the 81st Academy Awards for his screenplay of 70's gay activist Harvey Milk's biopic, Milk, was on stage and was happy to remind us that in his Oscar acceptance speech he'd promised that one day there would be equal federal rights across the U.S. for gay people and that this was another milestone in that direction.

Dustin Lance Black shows support on stage
Dustin Lance Black West Hollywood gay rally
We were also reminded though that there are gay people in other parts of America, and indeed around the globe, where being openly gay is not always possible, so this ruling gives them hope that one day we can all be equal, choose to love who we want and have the same rights as straight people.

Theodore Olsen speaks on stage
Theodore Olsen WEHO gay rally
In two days time will be my eleven year anniversary with my gay partner, and instead of the usual anniversary gift we've decided to donate the money we'd normally spend on each other to support the battle to make same-sex marriage legal for everyone here in the U.S.

You can help right now by texting EQUAL to 25383 to donate $10 so that AFER (American Foundation for Equal Rights) can insure Prop8 is defeated in the U.S. Supreme Court.

Once more the future seems bright...

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