PHOTO (top) shows the sea of protestors arriving at the rally at the County Administration Building on Saturday (11/15), with a cruise ship in the background along the Embarcadero.
PHOTO (bottom) shows the front of the estimated 25,000 participating in the gay protest march proceeding down Sixth Avenue today, led by a police escort.
PHOTO (middle) shows rally organizer Nick Moede with L.A. attorney Gloria Allred, who is lead counsel on Petitions before the state Supreme Court to overturn Prop.-8. Allred was the keynote speaker at the rally.
San Diego -- Sat., 11/15/08 -- Unexpected changes are occurring within the Gay & Lesbian Community, and particularly in San Diego. And, a nationwide gay boycott of California is being suggested.
Those changes became apparent during the long march and following rally in San Diego Saturday (11/15), which was part of the nationwide gay reaction to the passage of Proposition-8 on the Nov. 4th ballot.
Prop.-8 tries to amend the state Constitution by declaring that marriages can only be between a man and a woman.
That successful initiative on Nov. 4th ballot will - if it survives several pending state Supreme Court challenges - overturn the exhaustive, 162-page Opinion by the California Supreme Court in May that legalized gay marriages.
"A lot expected (Prop.-8) wasn't going to pass (on Nov. 4th)," said Casey Mathison, 28; who with his lover Dan Barnhart, 28 (both of University Towne Center), participated in the massive march Saturday.
"They didn't want to get involved," Mathiason added.
"A lot were suprised when (Prop.-8) passed on election night," he reported.
"That galvanized people," Mathison believes; resulting in some fundimental changes in the Gay & Lesbian Commujnity, locally and nationwide.
"We were distracted and got our asses kicked," added Barnhart.
When something kicks you in the butt hard enough, things can change dramatically and overnight.
People who ordinarily have not been involved in the Gay & Lesbian Community, suddenly are emerging as grass-roots, gay "militants" (a step higher than "activist," and short of violence).
Take Nick Moede, a young successful businessman in Hillcrest.
While Moede has been an independent thinker as a board member of the Hillcrest Business Association, he has seemed to be a quiet, busy business man -- not an agressive gay activist. He owns two, very popular gay businesses in Hillcrest: the Numbers bar on Park Blvd., south of University Ave.; and Rich's, which is the place for young, high-energy Gays to dance and party.
But, the success of Prop.-8 seems to have kicked Moede in the butt, and he suddenly and unexpectedly became a grass-roots firebrand.
Throwing in a lot of his own money to cover the enormous costs involved; Moede planned, organized and produced the huge rally at the County Administration Building Saturday (11/15). It was the cultural, orgasmic climax of the long protest march that started at Sixth and Upas three hours earlier.
Moede gave an inspiring, tough message in a speech at the rally that he primarily organized.
After urging the 25,000-plus crowd "to get involved," and "give money;" Moede hit the crowd with "the hard one."
"BE OPEN ABOUT WHO YOU ARE!!!
"Come Out !!!," he shouted, with militant emphasis in his voice.
"BE OPEN ABOUT WHO YOU ARE!
"Tell your co-workers!
"If you're not 'out' to your family, go home tonight and have that conversation!
"Don't be afraid to talk about your boyfriend or your girlfriend!
"Don't be afraid of people knowing who you are.!
"And, for all the awesome parents out there; when you go to work on Monday, tell your co-workers, 'I'm proud of my gay son!'
"Tell them, 'My daughter is a lesbian and I love her very much!'
"Its important for us to be open about who we are; because it's much harder for others to be afraid of us, or discriminate against us, if they know who we are.
"And, to all the supporters of Proposition-8, if you think homosexuality doesn't affect you; not only do you know several gay people, but I can guarentee you that there is at least one person in your life that you love and care for, that is Gay, " Moede said in his powerful speech at the rally that he produced, almost singlehandedly.
He spoke of an "Open Letter" to the people who managed the Yes-on-8 campaign:
"I pity you for your ignorance and intolerance, but I must thank you," Moede said. (That was highly unusual for the Hillcrest businessman.)
"Thank you, because through you I have found my voice.
"And through your deceitful and deplorable campaign of lies, you have given a voice to a whole new generation of (Gay) activists.
"You have given us the courage and strength to standup, and to say we will not accept being second-class citizens.
"And when you tell us that we can't be equal and we can't have the same rights, and when you tell us that we cannot marry; we will stand up and respond with three-simple words that (together with the Obama campaign) are sweepiong change across our great nation:
"YES, WE CAN!!!, Moede literally shouted.
Over 25,0000 also shouted that message as they marched in protest Saturday (11/15) from Upas and Sixth in Hillcrest to the County Administration Building.
And, there were marches earlier in the day in most, major - and some in smaller - cities nationwide, from Boston to Philadelphia to Washington and San Francisco.
The HUGE change in the Gay & Lesbian Community nationwide, and locally, is that these massive protests are being organized at the grass-roots level; and not by the well-paid, professional homosexuals who run the "official" non-profit Gay Community Centers.
Those non-profit "pros," and the "pros" that ran the ill-fated and ineffective No-on-8 campaign, were miserably ineffective.
But, new grass-roots Gay and Lesbian leaders are emerging and asserting themselves.
Moede conceived, created and produced the afternoon rally at the County Administration Building at the end of the long protest march from Hillcrest. Preliminary, estimated costs of that rally are $15,000, and came mostly from Moede's money.
Also, a few, grass-roots Lesbians organized the protest march, including Kelly Moyer, Internet Organizer. She "started with 6,000 invitations on Facebook," Moyer said in an interivew.
Sara Beth Brooks was the "lead March Coordinator," who was in charge of everything. The March cost an estimated $300-$400. About 60 volunteers were involved in the march, and another 15 worked the afternoon rally.
Everyone - marchers and protest/rally organizers - heaped high praise on the officers of the San Diego Police Departmenht assigned to escort the protest marchers.
Over 20 officers were involved, including three squad cars that led the march, and four motorcycle officers who were in front of the protest parade, clearning away all traffic and blocking incoming traffic from side streets.
Indeed, the commanding officer of the SDPD Western Division, Capt. C.J. Ball, was on-scene and in charge of all the officers continuously. Capt. Ball also walked the entire parade route at the front of the marchers.
Prop.8 may never become law. Several formal Petitions are currently pending before the California Supreme Court that will invalidate the initiative, if they are granted and prevail.
A nationwide gay boycot of California has also been suggested in Philadelphia.
Given the high level of anger that was found at the protest and march in San Diego today, that boycott seems to have a high degree of probable success.
"I think it's a fanatstic idea, and think Gays and Lesbians should launch the nationwide boycott of California immediately. They need to start thinking tough and BIG," said Martin Brickson, a retired straight engineer from Scripps Ranch.