City, News

Railing against Prop. 8

Thousands of people gathered at City Hall Saturday to protest against Proposition 8, a California ballot measure that banned same-sex marriage in the state only four months after a court ruled to allow the unions.

Northeastern University junior Paul Sousa organized a Facebook event with three others to encourage Boston residents to protest and to raise awareness about the effects of Proposition 8.

‘It was a call to action and we answered,’ Sousa, a speaker at the event, said.

Sousa and the other creators of the Facebook event for the protest received help booking a location and advertising for the event from organizations throughout the state. Mass Equality, an organization that advocates for equal rights for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, signed the permit for the protest, and Join The Impact, a group that also advocates for LGBT equality, booked speakers for the rally. Many other organizations sent out mass emails and telephone calls to encourage people to participate, Sousa said.

Though it took the passage of Proposition 8 to get people involved with the cause, Sousa said he hopes gay marriage supporters will remain active.

‘The protest sparks conversation, creates dialogue and sustains the momentum,’ he said.

In just five days, more than 5,000 people on Facebook agreed to attend the protest. The group urged people to make signs, bring friends and protest peacefully. Protestors came with hundreds of colorful signs, posters, banners and T-shirts.

Northeastern law student Evelyn Redmond said she believed marriage is a fundamental right that should not be exclusive to straight couples.

‘When the populace can vote to ban someone’s civil rights, that’s awful,’ she said.

Still, Boston resident, Peter Boullata said he was happy to see so many people turn out for the protest.

‘The objective of the protest is to let the people of California know that despite the passage of Proposition 8, we support them and don’t want them to be discouraged.’

Wellesley alumna Nikki Wright said laws like Proposition 8 will force people to look at a state’s constitution before picking a location to live.

‘You don’t want to have to choose where you are going to live based on whether or not you will have rights,’ she said.

Though the majority of people at the rally protested Proposition 8, there were a few who gathered in support of the law.

Bob Wetstone, one such supporter, said he thinks that God wants him to convince ‘sinners’ of the error in their ways.

‘When legislation says it’s okay to sin, people are fostering sin,’ he said.

Community Organizer for NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts Marina Barcelo said California passing Proposition 8 is synonymous with the state writing discrimination into its constitution.

‘Equal rights is the civil rights of our generation,’ Barcelo, a California resident, said. ‘It’s up to young activists to organize and stay committed.’

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