Kicking A Lion

…hear us roar

Letter From Lorri L. Jean – LA’s GLBT Center

The last few days have been difficult ones. We’ve had to come to terms with the passage of Proposition 8 and all that it may mean for our community. We’ve also had to deal with our frustration, pain and anger. As we have often done throughout the history of our movement, we first came together at a rally on Wednesday night in West Hollywood. Afterwards, thousands of people were not ready to go home and several groups spontaneously began marching.

Yesterday we called a press conference at the Mormon Temple. In addition to over a dozen media outlets, more than 1,500 people showed up! After the press conference, we marched around the perimeter of the Temple grounds. Then, as had happened on Wednesday, people were not ready to go home after the “official” march concluded. So, they went off on marches of their own, reconvening at the Temple many hours later and staying long into the night.

The protests and rallies here are sparking actions all over the country. We are receiving calls and emails from LGBT people and our straight allies throughout the nation who are angry and want to show their support. Plus, hundreds of people are contacting us to find out what is happening next-people who want to express their feelings and take action.

Future Actions

Many events are being planned in L.A. and around Southern California. For example, some are planning a march tonight in Long Beach at 7:00 p.m. at the corner of Broadway and Redondo. Another group is planning a march tomorrow in Silverlake at 6:00 p.m., beginning at Sunset Junction. These are not Center-sponsored events, but certainly many of us will be there to show our support to make ourselves a visible part of this growing movement.

The Center is maintaining a list of actions that are being planned. To see that list, or to submit something, visit: www.lagaycenter.org/Prop8Actions.

So far, our marches have been peaceful. Only a few people have gotten carried away-and some have been the victims of Yes on 8 supporters who got carried away. We want to ensure that our actions remain peaceful. While marching, please keep in mind a couple things:

  • The Mayor of Los Angeles is our friend. So are the heads of the police and sheriff’s departments (and on those occasions when they don’t act like that, we’re the first to let them know). But over the last few days, almost to a person, police officers and sheriff’s deputies have been extremely patient with protesters, and in many, many instances very supportive of our cause. They have blocked off streets and have tried to do their jobs to protect marchers and to protect the communities impacted. Please, please be respectful of them. If an individual police officer does not behave as s/he should, call our legal services department at 323-993-7670
     
  • The media are not our enemy. I was disturbed to learn that there were verbal attacks yesterday against a reporter from KCBS/KCAL and Hal Eisner, a reporter from FOX TV. Hal has fairly and accurately covered LGBT issues for many years and is a trusted and highly regarded reporter. A few people, however, saw fit to verbally attack and confront him with vicious slurs. If you see someone confronting press, please do what you can to stop it.

Why the Mormon Church?

We rallied in front of the L.A. Mormon Temple yesterday because it is a symbol of the reprehensible role that the Church hierarchy played in directing members to fund the campaign of lies and deceit promoted by the Yes on 8 leaders. Please do not forget that there are many fair-minded Mormons who are with us – many have actually marched and rallied with us and they are appalled at the actions of their Church leadership and the Yes on 8 campaign.

Further, as I said at yesterday’s gathering, the Mormons are not the only outside organization that has tried to strip us of our rights in California. While they funded the majority of the campaign, other groups also were involved, like Focus on the Family, the Knights of Columbus Headquarters, and more.

Next Steps

In addition to our rallies and protest marches, we’ve been taking other action. On Wednesday morning our legal groups (Lambda Legal, National Center for Lesbian Rights, the ACLU) filed suit in the California Supreme Court to invalidate Prop 8 as an inappropriate revision of our state constitution. A similar action was filed by the L.A. City Attorney, San Francisco City Attorney, and others.

On Thursday, we launched www.InvalidateProp8.org. Let’s show the President of the Mormon Church how many people are angry by their support of Prop. 8 and, in the process, raise money to support our community’s efforts to invalidate the initiative and promote the freedom to marry in California. Please visit the site, make a donation, and encourage everyone you know to do the same.

We’re also at the very early stages of planning a statewide action with colleagues from across California. We are bringing in some of the new leaders that are emerging in the aftermath of Prop 8 and inviting them to help us conceive and execute this plan. Stay tuned for more information.

The Big Picture

Finally, as badly as we all feel about the results on Tuesday, let’s try to keep the big picture in mind. The LGBT community and our straight allies pulled together an amazing and powerful coalition of people to fight this initiative. We fought the most successful fight ever mustered against an anti-marriage ballot measure-we raised more money for television and radio ads, we built a larger field team, we got more mainstream support. As a result, instead of losing by 22 points as we did 8 years ago when prop 22 was passed, we lost by less than 5 points. That’s enormous progress. No campaign against an anti-marriage ballot measure has ever won. We did everything we knew how to do, to be the first. But a slight majority still voted against us.

Sadly, some now want to play the blame game (usually people who did not choose to get actively involved in the No on 8 campaign but who now have a lot to say about it). They want to turn on our own community and each other rather than focusing our anger where it is deserved-the Yes on 8 campaign. What’s important now is to learn what lessons we can from our efforts.

How can we ensure that other states under attack replicate the unprecedented successes we had? What lessons did we learn that could enable other states under attack to be more successful? Clearly, we all have work to do in our own communities to get our neighbors, friends and colleagues-and people who should be our allies–to support us and our full equality. That’s what we must focus on now. This is a time for unity and focused action, not for division. As soon as the plan is formulated for the statewide action, we’ll let you know. Until then, do not lose heart! Ultimately, the freedom to marry will be ours!

Fondly,

Lorri

Lorri

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Written by kickingalion

November 8, 2008 at 12:42 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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