Queer Town

Queer Town: L.A. Prop. 8 Protest Targets Obama, Warren

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Fri, Dec 19, 2008 at 9:06 AM

This Saturday night President-elect Barack Obama will continue to get an earful he probably never expected.

click to enlarge s_WARREN_large_thumb_260x190.jpg

Join the Impact, an Internet-based grassroots group that organizes national protests against Proposition 8, will host candlelight vigils in Los Angeles and other cities to denounce the passage of Prop. 8 and Obama's tone-deaf decision to ask Rick Warren to lead his inauguration's invocation. Warren is an Orange County evangelical minister who was a loud and influential supporter of the "Yes on 8" campaign, which successfully took away the right for gay and lesbian couples to marry in the Golden State.
(Photo from Huffington Post)

"If we truly are an equal and free country," says Amy Balliet, founder of Join the Impact, in a press release, "then everyone would have the same legal protections. Until then, our lack of rights leads to a second class status. This event will shed light on our struggle and bring the conversation of equality to the dinner table this holiday season."

Barack Obama, who has been hammered by straight and gay bloggers, activists, and political pundits, will become the focus of this conversation on Saturday, December 20, at 5 p.m., when protesters will take to the streets at Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue. 

On Facebook, there are already more than 700 confirmed protestors for the Hollywood and Highland event, and another vigil will take place in Silver Lake at the Vista Theater. Join the Impact has also organized protests in San Francisco, New York, Washington D.C., and other cities, with the Warren controversy becoming a central rallying point.

Obama, who made few campaign stops in California and saw little of the Prop. 8 battle in person this summer and fall, still defended himself as a "fierce advocate" for gay rights at a Chicago news conference last night.  He does not appear to be backing away from his choice of Warren.

This major political goof, though, may not be such a bad thing for the gay community. Intent on making sure Obama comes through on his campaign promises to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and the Defense of Marriage Act, power gays now have a solid gold bargaining chip for quick action, with a whole bunch of angry gays and lesbians to back them up.  The newest chant on the streets, in fact, can already be heard: "Seize the Day!"

Contact Patrick Range McDonald at pmcdonald@laweekly.com.

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