Following Saturday night's successful protest against California Proposition 8 leader James Dobson, when some 500+ came out despite miserable weather, Chicago LGBT activists have set a follow-up protest for 12:30 PM, Saturday, November 15th at the Federal Plaza, corner of Adams and Dearborn Streets, Chicago.
Chicago's protest is part of a nationwide series of simultaneous protests at precisely the same hour on that day -- in over 80 cities and in all 50 states -- coordinated through the website www.jointheimpact.com
Although last Tuesday's vote in California prompted officials in that state to cease issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, it's an open question whether the Supreme Court in that state will confirm the ballot referendum or throw it out. Officially, their decision will probably hinge on a legal technicality -- whether or not the referendum language broke a vaguely worded provision of the state constitution that says that referenda cannot be overly-broad in the matters they cover.
However, the real reason for the court's decision will probably have much more to do with the amount of protest heat that LGBT people and our allies can generate outside of the courtrooms. While courts are always loath to admit that public protest influences their decisions, some of the most important progressive decisions have in fact been the direct results of such public protest. A large women's movement in the streets of America made the Nixon-packed, anti-abortion US Supreme Court give us the Roe v. Wade pro choice decision in the 1970s, and during the 1930s, once protests picked up a sufficient head of steam in the middle of the Great Depression, the heretofore conservative court ceased stonewalling President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal programs.
Saturday's nationwide protests are aimed at pressuring the California Supreme Court to reaffirm its earlier pro-gay decision and restore the state's reputation as a beacon for progressives elsewhere. Also on the agenda is bringing full marriage equality here to Illinois -- with one party in overwhelming control of every level of state government, this should not be the impossible task that state Democratic Party leaders often present it as being.
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