A National Day of Protest — Through Your Eyes

Over 100,000 protesters across the country and across the globe attended rallies and marched on Saturday in protest of California’s Proposition 8, which outlawed same-sex marriage. From Fairbanks, Alaska, where 32 people stood with signs in 6 degree weather as snow fell to San Diego, where 25,000 people marched on an unseasonably hot autumn day that reached into the 90s, supporters of civil rights demanded equality.

“This is the first time in U.S. history that the majority voted to strip the rights of a minority. Who will be next?” asked Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center CEO Lori Jean, who also credited young people as the driving force of the movement, saying “We now pass the torch to you!” The protests, organized via the website www.jointheimpact.com, spread through sites like Facebook, Myspace & Twitter.

Many of you sent in photos, videos and stories of the day. After the jump, we present some of these snapshots from across the country. You may want to grab a hankie.

Nashville, TN

Dallas, TX

Montgomery, AL

Daniel Davis writes:

“Although I am in the state capital of Montgomery, there was no protest organized for my area listed on the Join the Impact website. I believed I would have to go to Birmingham, but I had to work (at the Civil Rights Memorial Center). My boss, Lecia, texted me and told me she would be protesting anyway, even though we didn’t have a permit to protest. So we made a few signs, and we went with a couple of other employees of the Southern Poverty Law Center and walked a few blocks away to the Capitol. We stood in the wind and cold for 45 minutes, and many people saw us and waved, slowed down in their cars, or stared.

Soon a young man and his wife and baby son, Cooper, joined us. He had family in California, and they were protesting today, so they decided to come join us. On our way back to the Civil Rights Memorial, we passed a a couple of guys in their 20’s who applauded us, and we got few thumbs up from passers-by. We were happily surprised by such responses in the deep South.

Though we didn’t chant, march, get arrested, or get on the news, we had some visibility in the city of Montgomery, Alabama. Because of my disappointment with myself and this protest, I am hoping to plan a gay rights rally/protest for January after the inauguration or whenever Congress begins the next session.”

Kansas City, MO

Seattle, WA

Indianapolis, IN

Los Angeles, CA

New York, NY

New Haven, CT

Oakland, CA

Denver, CO

Chicago, IL

Washington D.C.

Queerty reader Jon Burke told us that:

“The March was an amazing success. I really didn’t know what to expect when I woke up this morning because the weather reports predicted rain. Well, there was rain alright, but there were also between 5,000 and 10,000 protesters, of every race, religion, and sexual orientation. Living in DC, it is easy to become jaded to the sites here, but marching in such a huge crowd – all fighting for equality under the law – from the Capitol Building, around the Washington Monument, and ending up at the White House left me with such a complete sense of pride from our Country and an invigorating confidence that our day will come sooner than later.

The parade of people was so long that it actually stretched down the entire mall and all the way around the monument, towards the White House. As we started our march, at around 2:00 pm, the skies opened up and the rain fell fast, but we held fast and stood up to the weather and the bigots. When we finished the march and settled in for the rest of the protest, we had a series of impromptu speeches. One particularly impactful speech was delivered by a 16 year old high schooler from West Virginia who told his story of having to sit through 4th period Spanish Class listening to his classmates sling “faggot” and “cocksucker” like the words were spitballs. I think that’s what this is all about, or, if it is not, it should be. We need to fight so that every gay teen can sit through class uninterrupted by hateful slurs; so that gay teens aren’t committing suicide at rates 3 to 4 times that of their heterosexual peers; so they aren’t thrown out of their homes and onto the streets; so that we can all walk down the street and not fear attacks from bigots. Today’s march made me confident that we can achieve all of this and more. In one week we put together a march on the National Mall! It was an amazing day!”

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  • closet123

    I went to the DC protest. With my dad. To whom I had come out only a week ago. Amazing right?

    Anyways, the protest was great and inspiring and powerful and all that, but what topped it off for me was the RAINBOW that graced DC after the protest.
    How amazing is that?!

    I tried my best to capture it

  • psy

    Well. California is burning down and there are rainbows over DC. Seems god is trying to say something. Wonder what?

  • TheWeyrd1

    I have pics posted on my blog from Denver.

  • scudder

    @closet123: Awesome dad you have.

  • Anarchos

    I was at the New York rally, and it was beautiful to see the rain clear up and the sun come out (and stay out for a good portion of the rally). I think they estimated the crowd at 4K-5K. The energy was positive and inspiring. Gay people, straight people, young and old. Very nice.

  • Larry

    you are an idiot…
    what is it your hateful god is trying to say??
    Your god is obviously a different god from the one I know.

  • Phil

    [email protected]

    II wonder if anybody died. The (limited) research I did on it resulted in the ant-gays starting shit. :o

  • Heath

    Thanks for the coverage of the event. I attended the Los Angeles event and to say it was amazing is an understatement. What’s not amazing is the blatant misrepresentation of the number in attendance by the media. The official number that has been given here is 10,000 to 12,000. Having already attended the rally in Silverlake here in LA the weekend before this where the attendance was also reported to be around the same number, I can say with a great deal of confidence that this rally was attended in far greater numbers. Friends in San Francisco, Minneapolis, Columbus and New York have all said they thought the numbers reported in their cities were low too. What’s going on here? I’ve sent an email to the main contact page but I’m hoping others who have noticed this in their cities will also speak up.

  • sdandy

    Thanks for mentioning the great crowd here in San Diego. I was getting very irritated that most media sources were mentioning LA and SF and not even mentioning San Diego, let alone the fact that SD had more people out than those two cities combined. Hopefully San Diego continues to shake the conservative grip and progress forward.

  • psy

    @Larry: And who says liberals don’t have a sense of humor! It was a joke. I’ve always wanted “our side” to be able to say “it’s god’s punishment” for a change. It was more of a sly slap at people like Falwell than anything else.

  • gayvirgo

    First of all, to Closet123- GOOD FOR YOU!!!

    I attended an event at church this weekend and heard Rev. Gene Robinson speak. One of the many wonderful truths he presented is the fact that the first thing we must do in our fight for our rights is come out. I know that is easier said than done for many of us, but people have a much harder time voting and acting against us if they have a face connected to their feelings. When you put a personal touch on the issues they become much less abstract and fearful.

    So…Closet123….I applaud and praise you and hope that you have been met with love and acceptance. I love you from here!!

    The NYC march was wonderful as the clouds parted and the sun streamed in just in time to gather. Bravo to all who stood up over the weekend. No matter the numbers, it’s the act that counts. Even the 6 people in Alaska who gathered made a difference!

  • Ryan

    I have to admit, that this is one of the few times where I wish I wasn’t an expat over in London. I’ve lived in Cali twice now, and as my bf (another expat) and I were talking with our other ‘mo expats we were all lamenting that the most we can do is send donations, encourage friends and family and watch from afar.

    It makes me happy to see that for the first time my generation (those who were either not born, or were small children during the worst of the AIDS epidemic/80’s) are finally getting to see what real political action is all about.

  • Ryan

    as an addendum I just wish we didn’t have to see it/get off our asses once we had had rights stripped away.

  • Out at the Center

    The difference I noticed between the Saturday Rally and the Wednesday night Mormon protest is that on Saturday there were more calls to action. Like Jeff Campagna asking New Yorkers to call Ruben Diaz about the Senate Majority leader. We are closer than ever to marriage in New York.
    All the speakers were great I posted several on our youtube channel along with a video highlights: http://www.youtube.com/OutAtTheCenter

  • Kyler

    Beautiful day of protests!! We need more and we need to not stop until we are allowed our rights as U.S. Citizens!

  • Inertia_90

    I wanted to be at the Dallas rally. Had to work though.

  • Josh

    @Heath: YES! I was at the rally in New York. Both the numbers from the Wednesday protest at the Mormon Temple and this Saturday’s protest seemed far too low.

  • horus

    i am so proud to be gay, we are FAMILY, and they will NEVER take that away from us.

  • DMAKron

    We had freezing wind and rain but we fielded just under 200 people in Louisville, KY. As soon as I can get some media (pics and/or video); I’ll be happy to share.

    We made it on two local news channels as well, so we are very happy with the turn out. We even boogied in the rain to a DJ! lol

  • Eric

    San Diego was amazing. I could not believe the turnout. I saw an est of 20-25,000 marchers. I just wish my home did not burn down while I was trying to save my civil rights.

  • john

    As depressed as I am about all this, it really IS an exciting time politically and socially. I can’t wait to see how people will come together to set this right…and I DO believe it will eventually be set right….I mean the arguement is do we treat everyone fairly in America? or do we allow religious groups to rule? it’s going to take some time, but I KNOW human equality will win in the end.

  • Chris

    Why nothing about San Diego? We had the largest crowds in the country. Police estimated the crowd at 20,000. Event organizers said 25,000. Regardless, we had more people protesting than in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York City.

  • docman

    One has to wonder what happens to your over the top self-affirmations and bravery when the vast majority simply decides to stop taking abuse from you all and starts burning down your gatherings and harassing you. Grow up and realize the world is a lot bigger than agitating for some sort of perceived right to marry a same sex partner. What’s next? The right to marry an animal or a child will be the next logical step.

  • michael

    The rally in Vancouver B.C. got off on short notice but it did gather a nice audience. There were many U.S. expatriates that spoke including my spouse and I. We were married in San Fran. early August. Some of the more moving speakers were those couples who were forced to leave the U.S. because their partners were from elsewhere and could not stay. People who left behind good jobs and friends and family they loved to start completely over. Canadians absolutely rock and so many are outraged about this. Especially British Columbians because they think of California as being west coast liberal like they are. Keep up the fight down there, my partner and I have decided that we need to up our financial gifts to compensate for our not being in the U.S. to support our brothers and sisters because we would love to someday have the option to come home and have the rights and freedoms that we do in Canada.

  • Bent Alaska

    Thanks for mentioning our protest in Fairbanks, Alaska!

    Photos and stories about the Alaska protests are posted here:

  • stevieweevie

    @docman: Funny how you intentionally found your way to a *gay* blog to make your comment. I think I see Queerclick and Dudetube on your other browser tabs.

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