Community Rallies After Prop. 8 Decision

By Josh Hinkle

Originally published on Advocate.com February 08 2012 3:38 AM ET

WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — Like many across the state charged up by news that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Proposition 8 unconstitutional, supporters stood shoulder-to-shoulder in West Hollywood's library Tuesday evening to celebrate the demise of the ballot initiative that revoked marriage equality in California in 2008.

Although proponents of Prop. 8 could still appeal the decision, perhaps all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, those who rallied in the West Hollywood neighborhood focused on the positive. “We’re
really optimistic and hopeful that the decision will mean that gays and
lesbians will be able to marry within the next few weeks,” said Eric Harrison,
executive director of Love Honor Cherish.

West Hollywood Mayor John Duran opened the rally in the crowded library, where the event was relocated due to rain, with a speech on the past and its
effect on the future. 

“For the
last three years we have suffered under Proposition 8,” Duran said. “And
tonight we have relief at last.”

Duran then introduced Diane Abbott, one of the
co-founders of AIDS Project Los Angeles, the Human Rights Campaign, and Equality
California.   

“Tonight
feels like coming home,” Abbott said. “It feels like coming home, because I
read that opinion today.”

Other
speakers included Adam Bouska, the founder of the NoH8 Campaign, Jon Davidson
from Lambda Legal, and Rev. Neil Thomas. It was a much different scene across the state than the one that played
out in 2008 as angry protesters poured into the streets of the Castro in
San Francisco and elsewhere in outrage at their loss at the polls.

A crowd of approximately 500 adults, children, and pets gathered on the street on Tuesday for a march down Santa Monica Boulevard. As revelers took to the streets, chants of “two, four, six, eight, goodbye Prop 8” and
horns from stopped cars filled the air. Patrons in bars along the strip stopped sipping their drinks and began to chant with the rest of the
crowd. 

Following
the march, supporters stuck around to discuss their views on the victory over
Proposition 8.

“Ever since Prop.
8 passed in 2008, I think the community itself has been splintered,” Richard
Ostlund said. “This victory today might be that unifying moment for us, to say
we need to fight them on every level, using every option we have available to
us.”

As everyone celebrated Tuesday's court ruling, one couple stressed that there is more to be done.
Tom Macias and his partner are waiting on the federal right to be married.“We’re just here to be part of history and
celebrate the win,” he said.

See more photos from the celebration on the following pages. 

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