GLAAD Joins Perry Decision Celebration in West Hollywood

GLAAD staff at Prop 8 Rally: Brian Pacheco, Adam Bass and Monica Trasandes

I joined many of my GLAAD colleagues at a huge rally in West Hollywood on Wednesday night to celebrate Judge Vaughn Walker’s decision that Proposition 8 violates the US Constitution.  The case before Judge Walker was Perry v Schwarzenegger. After a welcome from Mayor John Heilman of West Hollywood, and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa – the leaders of American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) took the stage.  AFER was the primary group responsible for the successful challenge to Proposition 8 that prevailed on Wednesday afternoon. Dustin Lance Black, the Oscar winning writer of the movie Milk, a board member with AFER introduced the organization’s President and founder Chad Griffin.  He in turn introduced the Kris Perry – one of the four plaintiffs and namesake behind the case.  She then introduced her partner  Sandy Stier along with  Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo – the other plaintiff couple.

Dustin Lance Black speaks at West Hollywood rally

The crowd got visibly emotional and excited to hear from the stars of the event:  Former US Solicitor General Theodore Olson and his co-lead-counsel David Boies. There were many celebrities throughout the crowd.  I personally spotted Chely Wright, Wilson Cruz, and Perez Hilton. However, Boies and Olson were very much the stars of the evening.  Many people rushed towards the stage as the event came to an end for a chance to shake hands with Olson and Boies.  There were tearful “thank yous.” After having attended the protest marches throughout Los Angeles in the immediate aftermath of Proposition 8’s passage and again on day the California Supreme Court issued its decision upholding Proposition 8 – tonight was a welcome change. Mr. Olson made it very clear that although Judge Walker's ruling is momentous and worth celebration, it is still only a first step in a long process that’s likely to lead to the US Supreme Court.  However, on Wednesday it was clear that West Hollywood was ready to celebrate Judge Walker’s decision and to publicly thank Mr. Olson and Mr. Boies for their leadership.  It was exciting to be part of that celebration.  GLAAD celebrates this historic decision and joined the thousands of voices in West Hollywood last night in cheering the Perry v Schwarzenegger decision.