Taking It to the Streets

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Several thousand protesters, many carrying signs bearing the year “2010” and the words “I Do,” gathered near West Hollywood park and then took to the streets to march down Santa Monica Boulevard and into Hollywood.

Demonstrators were peaceful as they listened to a parade of speakers, including Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (below), West Hollywood City Councilman John Duran, Drew Barrymore (below), Kathy Griffin (below, doing a play on “Norma Rae”), George Takei and the Rev. Eric Lee vow to continue the fight for same-sex marriage. Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl announced that a march on Washington was being organized for a weekend in October.

This afternoon I got the chance to read the opinion, written by Chief Justice Ronald George, who also wrote the majority opinion last year that paved the way for same-sex nuptials to begin. He went to lengths to show that they were deciding the case based on narrow procedural grounds, not on whether marriage itself should be legal, and that there’s no way they could justify overturning Proposition 8, for they would put in doubt a host of other initiatives. Same-sex marriage was a legal right in California, until voters removed it. His message: I’m not too crazy about this either, but if you are upset with the initiative process, change it yourselves. 

Where his ruling surely generates dispute is in his argument that Prop 8 “does not entirely repeal or abrogate the aspect of a same-sex couple’s constitutional right of privacy and due process” or “fundamentally alter” the state constitution’s guarantees of equal protection. He wrote that the proposition “carves out a narrow and limited exception to these state constitutional rights,” reserving the term marriage for heterosexual couples while leaving intact a host of other protections for same-sex relationships.

Same-sex marriage proponents seized on the language.

“Today the Supreme Court said we still have equal protection, but in California now, some are more equal than others,” Jenny Pizer, senior counsel and marriage project director for Lambda Legal, said at the rally.

One more note: From what I hear, the David Boies/Ted Olson suit has generated quite a stir among some legal eagles who have been pressing the same-sex marriage cases in California. The fear is that their lawsuit actually will make it to the Supreme Court, where a conservative majority could issue a precedent that has unintended consequences at the federal level.

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