Advocates for the state’s gay and lesbian community participated in a nationwide protest against Proposition 8 over the weekend. About 70 people met on High Street, between the state Capitol building and the Sillers Building to protest the passage of the California ballot initiative, which changed that state’s constitution to prevent California from recognizing the marriage of same-sex couples. California voters approved the constitutional amendment Nov. 4 with about 6.2 million supporting the amendment and 5.6 million in opposition.
Mississippi ACLU organizer Brent Cox said Proposition 8 is not just a California issue. “This is an equality issue for anyone who wants full equality. With marriage, you have immediate entry into an emergency room, and you don’t have to explain the dynamics of your relationship everywhere you go,” Cox said. “The bottom line is the United States has created this institution called marriage, and in the U.S. we don’t have institutions that only allow some people in, that only allow white people in, or only heterosexuals. We have a United States government that is supposed to be all inclusive.”
Mississippi Republican Party Chairman Brad White told the Jackson Free Press that a majority of Mississippians likely oppose gay marriage, and that he could not bring himself to recognize the right of gays to marry. He said he would not be opposed to homosexuals having access to a civil union status offering the same rights as marriage.
“Civil unions or some kind of similar accommodation is not out of the question, but there are too many people who are not willing to accept gay marriage at this time,” White said.
The refusal to allow marriage denigrates gays and lesbians to second-class citizenry, argue advocates, and contradicts the language of the 14th Amendment, among other aspects of the U.S. Constitution.
Many of the protesters were not gay, but straight allies; parents, children or friends of gays and lesbian. Jackson resident Patrick Neely, for example, is not gay, but appeared at the rally because he said he sympathized with the cause.
This post exerpted from a story that appeared in the Jackson Free Press.