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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Large crowd gathers, marches in Napa rally against Prop 8 and in support of future equality

Photo by (and used w/ permission) Israel Valencia/Infinity Visuals

After Tuesday morning's (May 26) somewhat predicted ruling--affirming the legality of Proposition 8, maintaining California's ban on gay marriage and at the same time allowing the 18,000 same-sex couples that got married to stay married--a movement was already underway.

The rally and march in downtown Napa--as in over 100 other places across the United States and even in Canada--had been planned for a while. Originally it was called, "Day of Decision: Celebration or Protest" as we weren't sure of how the Supreme Court would rule.

Tuesday morning's ruling put a somber tone over the day for many, but for some reason or another, Tuesday night's rally and march had a happy energy to it, a certain joy--and the evening even ended with a large group of youth dancing to Lady Gaga's Poker Face in the Veteran's Park Amphitheater.

There aren't any official crowd estimates that I could find, but I'd say at the time of the march there were a couple hundred people who gathered together as community in support of future equality.

Speakers at Tuesday's Napa rally included: Deb Stallings of the Napa Unity League, Rev. Bonnie Dlott of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of the North Bay, PFLAG North Bay, Renee Fannin, Rick Turko, and (I think) a few others). There was also a guy dressed like the Statue of Liberty (whom I wanted to ask the whole time if he borrowed his costume from Liberty Income Tax), and a friend of The Fruit, Victor, waving the American Flag near the stage area. There was also a lone "Yes on 8" supporter in flourescent yellow, riding his bike along side us as we marched, calling us "sodomites", telling the smaller children in our group that "it's just sick how they're indoctrinating you to become a homosexual", and videotaping everything. (We need to remember to be on our best behavior, as the footage will be used against us if anything dramatic were to happen. Remember the lady with the styrofoam cross in Southern California? Or the Yes on 8 protester who claimed he was assaulted by someone on the side for equality?)

As I said, however, Napa's rally felt overwhelmingly positive, with dancing, uplifting music and speakers encouraging us that our work and fight for equality was continuing on. There will surely be more to come...

...and as you'll see in the photos (to come) even Downtown Joe's was in on the support, clearly (although subtly) hanging a rainbow flag facing Veteran's Park for the rally.

Who's ready for Napa Valley Pride 2009 on June 20th?

Here's the Napa Register's supportive coverage of the rally and march in Napa on Tuesday, May 26th.

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