Protests in California and downtown Richmond - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Protests in California and downtown Richmond

By Curt Autry - bio | email                                      

Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Richmonders gathered downtown to protest Tuesday's ruling by the California supreme court, upholding that state's ban on same-sex marriage, but some in the gay community believe the ruling is a partial victory.

People like Ellen Degenres, and George Takei, Commander Sulu of Star Trek fame, as well as the 18,000 others in California, who've already had a same sex wedding, they can "stay" legally married. But for the dozens gathered in downtown Richmond, that's not enough.

Equality Virginia sponsored two of these events across the commonwealth. The sparsely attended rally in downtown Richmond and another, in Charlottesville. The California ruling was the impetus for this rally but the long term goal is equality here at home:

"There are hundreds of thousands of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender folks in Virginia who are denied basic protections of the law, marriage, job protection, housing protection, just general respect by the laws of the commonwealth," said Metropolitan Community Church Rev. Robin Gorslyne.

In California the ruling brought out thousands of protestors in virtually all of the state's major cities. By a 6 to 1 vote, the state's high court upheld proposition eight, a November ballot measure that banned same sex marriage. That ruling, less than a year after the state opened the door to gay unions.  

Supporters of the proposition said they're delighted on Tuesday's ruling.

"This decision wasn't just about restoring traditional marriage, but whether or not the people are going to have the final say in an important issue like this," said Andrew Pugno, General Council of protectmarriage.com 

The focus of the case was on the constitutionality of the November vote. It rejected an argument by gay rights activists that the initiative was an illegal constitutional amendment that first needed the legislature's approval.

"For the first time in U.S. history, gay people got into the constitution then the people voted us out," said plaintiff Robin Tyler. 

A sea of demonstrators gathered in front of the San Francisco courthouse and vowed the battle is not over.

Gay marriage activists are promising to go back to voters as early as next year and try to repeal the ban.

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