The following post was written by Adam Bass, GLAAD's Media Field Strategist for the Western Region.
Well over 10,000 people gathered near Los Angeles City Hall on Saturday, for a peaceful rally and march against Prop. 8. Similar events were held concurrently in over 100 cities throughout the country, marking the first coordinated nationwide demonstration since protesters began pouring into the streets immediately following Election Day.
Community leaders addressed the crowds for more than an hour in record-breaking heat. Actor Darryl Stephens of Logo's Noah's Arc implored the protesters to focus on repealing Prop. 8, rather than blaming any segment of the community. Prop. 8 passed primarily because proponents of the discriminatory measure distorted the truth, Stephens and other speakers reminded the crowd.
Several local and national media outlets continued their steady stream Prop. 8 coverage, including the Los Angeles Times, CNN and the Dr. Phil Show, though many media outlets had their attention focused on the LA-area wildfires. In fact, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa flew to City Hall via helicopter from the fires, and shortly after delivering an impassioned speech about equality, the Mayor returned to the fire front lines.
This was the fourth major march in Los Angeles since Election Day, and the pain and frustration of LGBT community members and allies was palpable. The passage of Prop 8 is a blow for everyone who believes in the values of equality and inclusion. And it's an especially painful disappointment for the couples and families who've made a commitment to each other for life and seek only an equal commitment under the law.
Despite the setback, Californians have made significant progress on the issue. In 2000, the vote on Prop 22 was lost by a margin of 23 points. In 2008, the gap narrowed to just four points. Clearly the numbers are moving in favor of equality. An increasing number of Californians understand that the freedom to marry is about love, commitment, and treating others as you'd want to be treated, with equality under the law.