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Queer Town: Proposition 8, A Year Later


It's been a long year since Proposition 8 was passed on November 4, 2008, when the existing right to legally marry in California was shockingly taken away from gays and lesbians.

Days before Prop. 8 was passed, pro-gay marriage supporters took to the streets in West Hollywood.
Days before Prop. 8 was passed, pro-gay marriage supporters took to the streets in West Hollywood.
Patrick Range McDonald


That soul-wrenching vote, however, placed same sex marriage, and gay rights in general, in the national spotlight, and brought forth a new wave of political activism among gay rights advocates and their straight allies.

In fact, a case can be made that Los Angeles -- not San Francisco or New York -- was ground zero for all of that political activity, with CNN broadcasting to the world images of gays, lesbians, and their straight friends marching in the streets of L.A. soon after Proposition 8 was passed.

Here's a time line of major, Prop. 8-related events that have happened over the past year, and L.A. Weekly's award-winning coverage of it.

On November 4, 2008, California voters pass Proposition 8, with anti-gay marriage forces winning Los Angeles County, the major swing county in the state. In the following days, gays, lesbians, and their straight friends take to the streets of Los Angeles and give rise to a new generation of grassroots leaders in the gay rights movement.

(L.A. Weekly, November 7, 2008, "A Changing of the Guard at the Westwood March"

Pro-gay marriage marchers in Westwood in November, 2008.
Pro-gay marriage marchers in Westwood in November, 2008.
Patrick Range McDonald


Also in November, "No on 8" leaders come under tremendous scrutiny for what many critics describe as a poorly run political campaign.

(L.A. Weekly, November 12, 2008, "Dirty Laundry Over Prop. 8")

Several months later, in March, 2009, pro-gay marriage groups seek help from the California Supreme Court to overturn Proposition 8.

(L.A. Weekly, March 11, 2009, "New Gay-Marriage War Coming to California")

In May, the California Supreme Court refuses to invalidate Proposition 8, which sets off another night of marching and a new ballot measure effort among gay rights groups to pass a pro-gay marriage initiative in 2010 or 2012.

 

(L.A. Weekly, June 4, 2009, "Setting the (Gay) Wedding Table")

Remarkably, in July, as gays and lesbians in California and across the country continue to fight for such rights as same sex marriage and serving openly in the military, openly gay Hollywood director Todd Holland says he advises young, gay actors to "stay in the closet" if they want to succeed in show business.

L.A. Weekly breaks that story, which subsequently becomes a national controversy.

(L.A. Weekly, July 22, 2009, "Todd Holland's Advice to Play It Straight")

Westwood marcher in November, 2008.
Westwood marcher in November, 2008.
Patrick Range McDonald


In August, two gay rights heavyweights -- Equality California and Courage Campaign -- butt heads over the best election year to move forward with a pro-gay marriage ballot measure.

(L.A. Weekly, August 12, 2009, "Rick Jacobs: Gay Marriage Can Be Won in 2010")

In October, L.A. Weekly takes a deeper look at the gay closet in Hollywood, where supposedly gay-friendly entertainment honchos have created their own "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.

(L.A. Weekly, October 8, 2009, "The Secret Lives of Queer Leading Men")

Also in October, a federal lawsuit to overturn Proposition 8 moves forward after a judge denies a motion to dismiss. That lawsuit was brought by the Los Angeles-based American Foundation for Equal Rights.

(L.A. Weekly, October 14, 2009, "Proposition 8 Lawsuit Moves Forward, Motion to Dismiss Denied")

The gay rights battle continues in California and elsewhere in the United States.

(Update: On November 3, 2009, with the help of "Yes on 8" campaign manager Frank Schubert, Maine voters repealed a pro-gay marriage law, according to Time magazine.)

Contact Patrick Range McDonald at pmcdonald@laweekly.com and follow at http://twitter.com/PRMcDonald.



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