This past weekend, the Associated Press reported on the grassroots protests that sprang up across California and Utah in response to Proposition 8's elimination of marriage for gay and lesbian couples. The No on 8 campaign, in one of its final statements, urged protesters not to "isolate the people who did not stand with us in this fight," and emphasized that "people of all faiths, races and backgrounds stand with us in our fight to end discrimination."
The first protests occurred in West Hollywood the day after the elections, and lasted past midnight, with chants such as "Yes We Can!" and "Gay or Straight! No on 8!" Thousands gathered to bring voice to the Californians who were affected by the passage of Prop 8.
The next day, more than a thousand gathered on Santa Monica Boulevard in Westwood outside the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the group that bolstered the "Yes on 8" campaign with significant donations of both financial support and volunteer hours.
Corey Sholibo, The Advocate's arts and entertainment editor, was in Westwood, and he wrote a follow up piece calling upon younger LGBT people to get involved. Initially ambivalent about whether he would take action, Sholibo decided to attend the protest in Westwood, where he said, "Standing in the streets holding a sign for the first time in my overprivileged life, I now know: This is not the end. This is just the beginning."
The protests have ranged in size and style - 5,000 people peacefully marched in Silver Lake, a neighborhood in Los Angeles, while 1,000 gathered for a quiet candelight vigil in Laguna Beach. In Palm Springs, the mood was much more heated, while demonstrations also formed on the Capitol steps in Sacramento and outside the Mormon Temple in Oakland Hills.
In Salt Lake City, protesters gathered outside the headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. State Senator Scott McCoy, one of three openly gay Utah legislators and whose district includes the Mormon church headquarters, spoke at the rally: "I do not hate the L.D.S. church, nor any of its members and neither should you...I will help them understand that civil rights for our community does not come into conflict with the religious rights to worship as your conscience dictates."
In New York, a peaceful demonstration is planned for tonight, Wednesday, November 12 at 6:30pm outside of the Mormon Temple on Columbus Ave. on 65th St. Although held outside the church, the protest will rally against all voters who came together to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry in California.