Activists protest California ruling banning same-sex marriage listen05/27/09 Mitch E. Perry
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Six hours after the California Supreme Court refused to overturn Proposition 8, which bans same sex marriage in the Golden State, approximately 50 people gathered at Joe Chillura Square in downtown Tampa to protest the legal decision.
Activists said the theme of the evening was a call to action.
Karen Doering is a board member with Organizations United Together (OUT). She called the California Supreme Court ruling, "unthinkable."
Doering said it was time for the LGBT community and their supporters to no longer support politicians who say they support gay rights, like marriage, but don’t follow through.
Zeke Fread was a coordinator of the event. He said he had spoken earlier in the day with Robin Tyler, one of the original plaintiffs in the California Supreme Court lawsuit.
Florida and California voters approved bans on same-sex marriage on the same day last November, but the loss in the Golden State prompted to massive protests immediately and court action.
The proposal was actually leading in California until the last weeks of the election last year, and some analysts say the pro-gay marriage forces grew complacent, certain of victory.
Of course, since that time, a number of states have since approved same-sex marriage laws.
Brian Winfield, communications director with Equality Florida, a statewide LGBT rights organization, said it was important for those present to transfer their outrage, despair and disappointment into positive action.
Sally Phillips is president of the Hillsborough County LGBTA Democratic Caucus. She reiterated the theme of the night, that now was the time to press for equal rights when it comes to marriage.
While sexual orientation is still an issue for older voters, it doesn't resonate with younger people. A a recent New York Times/CBS News poll found 57 percent of people under age 40 said they favored same-sex marriage, compared with 31 percent of people over 40.
After the appointed speakers had finished, those in attendance were invited to speak.
In California, critics of the court’s ruling say they will put another measure on the ballot in 2010. But the Yes on 8 Chairman, Ron Prentice said that Prop 8 supporters are planning a statewide, multi-million dollar campaign supporting marriage between men and women only.