Thousands of opponents of Prop 8 gathered Tuesday afternoon in Balboa Park for a rally and march on the Hall of Justice to protest a court ruling issued earlier in the day upholding Prop 8, upholding the controversial ballot measure passed last fall.
Marchers demostrated all the way down Sixth Avenue to Broadway, then headed west to the hall. San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders met them on the steps where he gave an impassioned speech. "Sadly, justice and equality was not on their agenda today," Sanders said.
Sanders, whose daughter is gay, has been an outspoken supporter of gay marriage. "I have two daughters, and they will not have the same civil rights,"Sanders said.
Lisa Sanders said she and her partner of 3 years, Meaghan Yaple, were still planning to get married. "Our love will not change due to this, it is only growing stronger,"Lisa Sanders told NBC 7/39. "We're going to call it a marriage between us and hopefully in a few years the state will recognize it as well,"said Yaple.
When the court released its long-awaited ruling just after 10 a.m., Californians noticed and immediately started talking – both for and against the decision.
A group supporting same-sex marriage gathered at a home in University Heights and was obviously disappointed by the outcome. There were a lot of tears and hugging.
"We're gonna get through the pain. We're gonna keep fighting and we're gonna win it,” said Kelly Moyer who supports same-sex marriage. “But right now, we're angry. We're furious, and we demand our equality. This is not over."
Meantime, at Skyline Church in La Mesa, the reaction was much different. Pastor Jim Garlow said they are very happy Proposition 8 was upheld, but are also a little disappointed the roughly 18,000 same-sex marriages already performed in the state will be upheld.
“It simply says only marriage between a man and a woman is valid, and recognized in the state of California,” said Pastor Garlow. “So, how they justify that is beyond me.”
Both sides acknowledged this is probably not the end of this debate.
“I think the discourse should be civil. I don't think there should be violence and vandalism. I don't think there should be name-calling. I don't think anybody should be called a bigot or a hate monger," said Pastor Garlow.
At a press conference today, the ACLU said it will ask voters again. "It feels profoundly and deeply unfair, that any minority group should have to fight its right to equality at the ballot box, but that's the only option the court has left us,” said attorney Tara Borelli.
Eight years ago, California voters approved Proposition 22, which specified in state law that only marriages between a man and a woman are valid in California. But in May 2008, the state Supreme Court ruled the law was unconstitutional because it discriminated against gays, and an estimated 18,000 same-sex couples got married in the ensuing months.
Opponents of same-sex marriage quickly got Proposition 8 on the November ballot, and it was approved by a margin of 52.5 percent to 47.5 percent.
Supporters of same-sex marriage are hoping to get an initiative on the ballot for 2010.