Thursday, November 13, 2008

Protests of Proposition 8 Continue Around the Country

With the defeat of California’s Proposition 8 in last week’s election, many continue to push to regain the rights they briefly had within the state. However, California is not the only state where such battles are being waged. A number of articles this week (here, here, here and here), point to one move towards actual achievement of these goals, but also to other moves that may or may not aid in achieving this right in other states.

In Connecticut, a judge on Wednesday issued an order allowing for same sex couples to marry within the state. Upon the issuance of this order, it has been reported that many same sex couples began applying immediately for licenses. With the passage of Proposition 8, there are once again only two states which allow such marriages – Massachusetts and Connecticut.

In Utah, supporters of same sex marriage arranged protests at Mt. Hope Church. Protesters in Utah have chosen mainly Mormon churches as these churches had spent millions of dollars in support of Proposition 8.

In New York City, a large number of protesters surrounded the LDS Manhattan temple in opposition to the temple’s involvement in the passage of Proposition 8. The article also mentions that a protest in all 50 states is scheduled for this upcoming Saturday (November 15, 2008).

Finally, in Michigan, protesters have also chosen to stage their demonstrations outside of a church. However, unlike the demonstrations in Utah and New York City, the demonstration in Lansing seems (based solely only on what is presented in the articles) to have gone a bit too far. It is reported that there were two groups – an outside group who held a legitimate protest, and an inside group. The troubling aspect of this protest is that the inside group apparently pulled a fire alarm, dropped leaflets and yelled at parishioners.

It is quite understandable that many were upset with the passage of Proposition 8 last week. However, demonstrations such as those in Lansing seem to be counterproductive to the cause. I doubt that the Connecticut judge would have been influenced by an angry mob gathered outside (or worse inside) the courtroom; instead, in Connecticut they chose to follow the proper procedures to attempt to have same sex marriages approved.

Protesters have First Amendment rights, and so I see little problem with the protests in places such as Utah or New York City. However, I am not sure that after-the-fact protesting will do any more than send a message of anger to these churches. And, once such protests are finished, the task will remain to attempt to legalize same sex marriage through proper legal channels. The more protests approach that of the scale in Lansing, the more difficult finding support through these proper legal channels may be.

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