Prop / Proposition 8 Protest Here in Portland | November 14

Oregon protest of Prop / proposition 8On Saturday morning at 10:30, Portland activists are taking a stand against California's newly passed Proposition 8, which restricts the definition of marriage in California to that of a union between a man and a woman.

Debra Porta, Equal Rights Advocate for Associated Students of Portland State University explained that Saturday's protest is not just for those who are informed, but those who want to learn more.

“We are hoping that this event serves to unite our community to be prepared to move forward and do the work that needs to be done,” she explained.

The protest will begin at 10:30am and speakers will begin addressing attendees at around noon. They will be meeting in the South Park Blocks on the PSU campus, near the Farmer's Market's usual location. The group organizing this protest have a WordPress site you can find here. Check out that site to find out what initiatives are taking place, and what us Portlanders can do to help out!

*Photo from Gay Marriage Now (myspace)

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One Response to Prop / Proposition 8 Protest Here in Portland | November 14

  1. g rod November 22, 2008 at 19:52 #

    We’ve come a long way
    Paula Simons, The Edmonton Journal
    Published: Wednesday, November 12, 2008
    Between July 2005 and September 2008, according to provincial data, there were 747 same-sex weddings in Alberta. No brides or grooms or wedding guests were struck by thunderbolts or swallowed by fiery chasms. Instead, couples gathered with friends and family, swore vows to spend their lives together, signed the necessary paperwork, and then went quietly on with their lives.

    Calgary is turning out to be Alberta’s same-sex marriage capital with 289 ceremonies as of this September. Edmonton comes second with 215. Banff ranks third with 47, and Lethbridge an unlikely fourth with 26 same-sex unions. Taken together, Banff, Lake Louise, Canmore and Jasper have hosted 96 gay weddings — very Brokeback romantic. But there have been gay marriages, too, in communities as “severely normal” as Fort McMurray, Grande Prairie and Red Deer.
    Three years after the Klein government grudgingly started licensing same-sex weddings, the marriage controversy here has all but passed into history.

    There were times when the debate was at its most ugly, when I wondered if gay activists wouldn’t have been better off to lobby for registered civil unions, instead. The debate stirred up so much hatred, so much vicious rhetoric, I feared it would set gay rights back, not forward.

    I was wrong. No civil union law would ever have given same-sex couples social equality. By insisting on identical legal treatment, and social nomenclature, gay and lesbian couples won the right to cultural inclusion. Far from threatening the institution of marriage, I think they gave straight couples a gift. Because marriage mattered so much to them, they forced the rest of us to think afresh about why marriage mattered to us.

    In Canada, the same-sex marriage debate is over. That makes the renewed same-sex marriage fight in the United States a sobering reminder of how far we’ve travelled.

    On Nov. 4, the day Americans elected Barack Obama as their first African-American president, three states — Arizona, Florida and California — voted to forbid gay marriage. The vote was particularly divisive in California, where an estimated 18,000 gay and lesbian couples have been married since the state Supreme Court allowed same-sex weddings last May. Lawsuits and protests are already underway.

    The same black and Hispanic voters who turned out in large numbers to put Obama in the White House voted overwhelmingly against gay marriage. What we’re seeing is a bitter clash of cultures, a reminder of the messiness of democracy in a pluralist society, when the values and interests of different groups collide.

    The irony is intense. Desegregation might never have happened if African-Americans had been forced to win their human rights through referendum. History tells us you can’t protect minority rights through majority vote; minorities are, by definition, unpopular. That’s why civil rights need institutional legal protections that can’t be undermined by populist backlash.

    As we watch this culture war flare south of the border, we can be grateful most of the rancour has burned out here — and hopeful that cross-border sparks won’t reignite any smouldering angers.
    That’s not the say we don’t still have work to do. Ten years after our Supreme Court’s Vriend decision confirmed that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms did protect people from discrimination on the basic of sexual orientation, Alberta has yet to amend its human rights legislation to protect homosexuals. Because the Vriend ruling trumps Alberta’s law, gay rights here are still protected. The province has just been too churlish to formalize them.

    In the house this week, Culture Minister Lindsay Blackett, whose file includes the Alberta Human Rights Commission, said he was in the middle of a major re-write of provincial human rights law, and that he didn’t want to amend things piecemeal.

    That’s fine — but it doesn’t explain away 10 years of inaction. How much longer must gay and lesbian Albertans wait to be recognized as equal Albertans?

    Yet bit by bit, we get closer to justice. Last week, Calgary Conservative backbencher Heather Forsyth introduced a private member’s bill in the house, designed to target school bullying. But while Bill 210 sets out to protect students from being bullied on the basis of race, ethnicity and gender, it doesn’t specifically mention bullying on the basic of sexual orientation. (Or disability, for that matter.) Given how much homophobia exists in the schoolyard, and given that the province is launching a campaign against homophobic bullying later this month, it seemed a glaring oversight.

    When I called Forsyth to ask about those omissions, she had the good grace to seem sincerely embarrassed. No, she assured me, it had never been her intention to exclude bullying on the basis of disability or sexual orientation. In fact, she promised to amend the bill accordingly.

    Before Vriend, before the gay marriage debate, such a conversation could never have happened. We’ve come so very far in our journey toward acceptance and equality, but we can never afford to take our gains for granted, or to forget how long and hard the trip.
    Paula Simons writes for the Edmonton Journal.

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