Thursday, 6 November 2008
LOS ANGELES —
Thousands took to the streets of the Los Angeles area and San Francisco Wednesday evening to protest California's passage of Proposition 8, a ban on gay marriage.
Demonstrators marched together on streets in West Hollywood and Hollywood where several protesters stopped at busy intersections, blocking traffic and prompting intervention by police.
An additional group of about 500 protesters gathered near CNN's Los Angeles bureau, where they were seen banging on the doors and walls, causing the Los Angeles Police Department to declare a tactical alert — requiring all available officers to respond to the protest — some of whom were brought in from other stations.
Television cameras showed one protester jumping on top of a police car at the intersection of Hollywood and Highland. He was quickly wrestled to the ground by police and handcuffed.
Several others were arrested when a group of people broke away from the larger demonstration that began in West Hollywood earlier in the evening.
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Some of them were detained, but "the overall indication is that the demonstrators and marchers are peaceful," Lee said.
In San Francisco, hundreds gathered on the steps of City Hall to protest approval of the ban.
Protesters held candles and carried signs that read "We all Deserve the Freedom to Marry" as part of the event, which was sponsored by groups opposed to Proposition 8.
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom expressed frustration in the ban, but said he is hopeful it will be overturned.
The loss was a political defeat for Newsom, who's been one of the most prominent advocates of same-sex marriage. He says the effect on his gubernatorial aspirations is "trivial" and "irrelevant."
City attorneys of Los Angeles and San Francisco, along with the American Civil Liberties Union, filed requests for the state Supreme Court to overturn the gay marriage ban on Wednesday.
Meg Waters, part of the Yes on 8 campaign team, told City News Service, "gay and lesbian couples have exactly the same protections under the law with civil unions."
"Marriage has been defined as a man and woman since time began," Waters said. "The people of California have voted twice, so I think the best thing to do is for everybody involved to figure out a way to move forward."
Waters said she understands "how gays and lesbians may feel concerned about this."
"If they stop and look at the situation, they have the exact same legal protections and rights under the law today they had yesterday," Waters said.
"You can't change the definition of something that existed forever because you don't like it."
The Yes on 8 campaign has "a great deal of compassion for gay and lesbian couples and support completely their right to live as they choose, whether it's in a committed relationship and a domestic partnership or however they choose," Waters said.
"We don't believe that Proposition 8 hinders that at all," Waters said. "We're hoping very much to rebuild bridges to that community at some point."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.