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May 22nd, 2009 by dianna

The Prop 8 Oral Arguments on March 5, 2009: The “peaceful” rally, as stated by most of the local news stations, was a very different experience for me. After watching channel 2, 4, 5 and 7 news I couldn’t believe some of the stories they chose NOT to cover.

Sign reads "Dan White Hero for killing Queers"

Sign reads: Dan White was a hero for killing a queer

For example, how about the bus loads of Ukrainians that were brought in from Sacramento with massive “Yes on 8″ signs and scripts/instructions that they were given to say to anyone that would engage in a light debate. What i found most interesting about this group was that they mostly engaged with the young teens/adults in the crowds. When i approached the older men (40-60 age range) with questions of my own, i literally got NO RESPONSE. I found it strange at first, but then realized that they really didn’t have any depth of knowledge on the issue and so anything outside of their script was not something they were prepared for. The young men in that group were much more engaging but all they could say was hateful things about fags and that gay people were going to hell. They also then kindly reminded me that if i was gay i could not have children. They also insisted they would never have fags as kids because, well, it wouldn’t be allowed. I found this group fascinating because it took so little to get 100 of them together with big signs and scripts and have such a presence at this rally. The only thing unclear to me was if this group of young men and a sprinkling of adults had been paid to be there. I couldn’t get that out of them. They even were organized to block the views of those talking on the courthouse steps with their massive signs while the rest of us with small “I DO” signs stood behind. Brilliant!

I just wondered why theĀ ”No on 8″ side hadn’t organized as well. We have more then a handful of organizations that we are all pouring our money into and yet, there was no clear presence of any of them. Why? I’ll leave that topic for another blog post.

The next “Yes on 8″ group was church organized. They had red shirts that said something like, “Marriage = 1 Man + 1 Woman” along with small white tabloid size signs. They handed out to anyone interested the red T-shirts and the signs - another smart move since the shirts were so loud. This group was about half the size of the first group. They were a bit more respectful, also engaging in dialogue with the opposing side, but with some emotion in the conversation unlike the above more organized (potentially paid for) group.

Lastly, there were the normal, unorganized group of “Yes on 8″ individuals that were few and far between. They clearly put themselves in the middle of the organized group for safety reasons, but stood quietly with their signs.

The debates were not always respectful, there was a lot of yelling, cursing, and even physical contact with many of these people. The police got involved in at least 5 altercations that i was also involved in. I was hit, and hit a few people back. Signs were ripped out of peoples hands, and the emotions were beyond boiling point for most of the day.

Amazing that the Mormons were not visibly present, unless they actually were indirectly via the organized group…

Below are some of the faces of those people along with their messages:

Man quoted as saying okay if kids commit suicide if gay

Man quoted as saying okay if kids commit suicide if gay

Ukranian Yes on 8 Teenager - Hates Fags

Ukrainian Yes on 8 Teenager - Hates Fags

Yes on 8 Marriage = 1 Man + 1 Woman T-shirt crowd

Yes on 8 Marriage = 1 Man + 1 Woman T-shirt crowd

Now, on the “No on 8″ side it was an eclectic group of unorganized individuals that more than tripled the presence of the “Yes on 8″ groups, but because of the lack of one voice, it appears to be much smaller of a group. The one visual that stands out for me during this entire day was a single woman with her “I Want the Freedom to Marry” sign, standing in the center of the “Yes on 8″ crowd, often standing with silent tears running down her face as individuals were yelling at her. She was the most beautiful presence at that rally.

SF Prop 8 Oral Arguments Rally: Ashley Rojas behind a "Yes on 8" Protester

SF Prop 8: Ashley Rojas stands alone

SF Prop 8 Oral Arguments Rally

SF Prop 8 Oral Arguments Rally

There were also the young kids from King Middle School in Berkeley that were as strong and bold as any seasoned activist. They were heard and felt throughout the rally as they yelled at the “Yes on 8″ groups with a passion that was so refreshing to see.

5 Responses to “#Prop8arg SF Prop 8 Rally: The Faces of Hate”

  1. “I just wondered why the ?No on 8? side hadn?t organized as well. We have more then a handful of organizations that we are all pouring our money into and yet, there was no clear presence of any of them. Why? “

    Why do we need an organized, professional presence at the court house? I can see demonstrations and actions before an election, but at the courthouse? Do you think street theater is going to influence the judges? Really?

    Most importantly, do you think that the resources of these organizations you site, a few to which I’ve donated money, are best spent organizing actions on the steps of a courthouse? Don’t you think those funds be better spent on phone banking, canvassing, advertising, and fund raising events?

    Finally, what’s to stop you from organizing the crowd? When I was at the Republican National Convention in San Diego in 1996, I organized a huge counter protest march, right on the spot, cobbled together from a bunch of stragglers with signs. I got them all chanting the same chant, too.

  2. Horrible people. I seriously do not understand why they care…or where all that hate comes from. I’d love to see how they would behave if they were denied the civil rights they have enjoyed for so long. This issue makes my blood boil.

    Keep fighting the good fight D.

  3. Tim: thanks for the comment.
    > Yes, i also gave my share of money AND i STILL support all of our organizations and respect the leadership in each of them. I believe we are all allowed to question are we not?
    > Yes, i believe it matters for much more than the judges in the courtroom - for all the reasons you stated in what our organizations should be doing - these moments get more press/PR than any other, the Yes folks out there watching the news need to see and be aware of our presence as loudly as the other side. We should take advantage of it because its not over til its over and we may need to keep on fighting.
    > Yes, your right about my involvement at that level and i’ve been trying to figure out how i might better contribute if the organizations are interested. I’ve done my share of volunteering on one level but not at a level of helping on a large group effort. I don’t think creating yet another org makes sense.

    Let’s continue to learn, grow and organize. -d

  4. Thanks for capturing this. Here are some more photos of protestors and supporters

  5. my thanks as well for capturing this, dianna. let’s stay together.