Sean Penn poster for the "Milk" premiere 10/28/08 By strangedejimWith the popularity and awards won by the Gay Rights film Milk, it is surprising that in the same state as this film focuses, the gay and lesbian community still do not have equal rights. On November 4th, 2008 many people in California were saddened by the voters decision to approve Proposition 8, which added an amendment to the state constitution limiting marriage between a man and a woman. This passed by a mere 52% and many opponents to the bill are not giving up. This Thursday, March 5th the California Supreme Court has agreed to hold a hearing on the issue. They have until June to decide if the bill is constitutional and whether the thousands of gay couples who married last summer can keep their marriages valid. 

. Photo by Tom AndrewsMany opponents of Prop 8 see this is as their last hope to stopping the bill and are hoping the court finds the bill unconstitutional. The courts will hear from both sides of the spectrum with none other than Kenneth Star, of the Monica Lewinsky scandal fame, representing those in favor of the proposition. If all goes well for Prop 8 opponents, California could once again see the legalization of marriage for all its citizens

I Do Campaign Yard SignAlthough most of us can’t support by attending the hearings there are some great campaigns going on where you can help out.  One way to show support is by staying up to date on news surrounding the right to marriage and events on the Equality California site. As well as staying informed, keep an eye on events you can attend, like the state and country wide candlelight vigils being held on the night before the hearings begin, March 4th. Find out where to attend your local Eve of Justice vigil here. Another great campaign is the newly launched “I Do” Campaign, where they are asking people of all orientation and backgrounds to show their support by purchasing I Do merchandise such as buttons and stickers. These items are designed to help supporters and activists break the ice with neighbors, family, and friends about the rights of marriage. Get yours today! 

Whether you choose to get involved or not, we hope the California Supreme Court makes the correct decision for the civil rights of their people. And we can all one day look forward to the day when we will see the right to marry extend to all people nationally. And maybe one day California can once again make Harvey Milk and his followers proud again.

With all the celebrations around the country, it was easy to forget that one group did not have victory this election. Gay marriage was banned in three states this election and California, known for its liberal stance on social issues, added an amendment to their state constitution which defines marriage as only between a man and a woman. California courts overturned a ban on gay marriage that passed in 2000 just this June. Somehow Prop 8, come to be known as Prop H8te by opponents passed last Tuesday. This is a civil rights issue and essentially the passage of Prop 8 restricts constitutional rights for a minority of California citizens. The people of California are not giving up however and several protests in LA, San Francisco, Sacramento, and San Diego have been occurring since last Wednesday.

If you are in California, please stay up to date on ways you can get involved and if you live elsewhere in the country please think about donating to the cause as well as getting involved in this weekend’s NATIONAL DAY OF PROTEST. In cities and towns all over the country supporters of civil rights are joining together in a protest against Prop 8. If you are free this Saturday November 15th, please join the movement and support California’s opposition to an amendment to their constitution! Log onto Join the Impact’s website and keep up to date on the movement as well as find out the times and locations of your local protests.

Let’s take a stand against hate and exclusion together. This is a time for unity and make sure that no one is considered a second class citizen. National and state constitutions should expand human rights not take them away. Even if you do not believe in gay marriage, it should be known that constitutions should not limit the rights of our citizens. Please come out and protest this Saturday November 15th!!! Make sure you know when and where to protest! We need all the support and unity we can get to protect our civil rights. And for those couples who still want to marry, come to the great state of Massachusetts! We have had legalized marriage for all our citizens for almost 5 years!!!

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