Thousands Attend Rally
Thousands Attend Rally

Thousands Attend RallyContributed by Michael Coleman

Thousands attended a rally on the steps of the state capital on June 26 in celebration of this weekʼs Supreme Court rulings on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and Proposition 8, paving the way for same-sex couple of California to marry and guaranteeing those marriages will receive full recognition and benefits from the federal government.

Speeches began just before 6pm and lasted for about 90 minutes, with a variety of legislators speaking passionately about the courtʼs decisions and their impact on the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. Speaker of the Assembly John Perez, Californiaʼs first openly gay speaker of the assembly, recalled the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in reflecting on the courtʼs rulings.

“Dr. King said ʻThe arch of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice,ʼʼ said Speaker Perez. “This is a tremendous victory, not just for the LGBT community, and not just for the large and growing majority of Americans who have embraced us, but a victory for justice itself.

With the Courtʼs action, Judge Vaughn Walkerʼs decision is the law of the land in California, and that means that, for the first time in five years, LGBT Californians can walk the streets of California knowing that we are fully equal citizens in every respect.”

Several pastors and ministers spoke in support of the courtʼs rulings, countering the perception that African American clergy are opposed to same – sex marriage.

“There has been a considerable shift in the way in which African American mainstream pastors who have large public denominations have backed off of the condemnation of gay and lesbian people, “ said Doretha Williams-Flournoy, pastor of A Church For All in Sacramento. “Theyʼve been promoting an atmosphere of love instead of one of condemnation. Weʼre more interested in providing a safe environment for LGBT people to explore their identify and their relationship with God.”

Before marching to Midtown for celebrations at a variety of nightclubs, some attendees and speakers expressed concern that there was still work ahead for LGBT activists.

“Iʼm very happy about the victories over DOMA and Prop 8 this week, but we should pay attention to the details and language in the justiceʼs decisions,” said Dr. Steven Scott of Sacramento. “The way the justices weighed in on stateʼs rights might affect the federal protections on which we all rely.”

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