Lesbian, gay and bisexual Californians and their supporters will take to the streets of more than a dozen cities next week to protest against a ban on gay marriage in the state.
The vigils, organised through the website Eve of Justice, will take place on March 4th, the day before the California Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on the validity of Proposition 8.
It was approved by 52% of voters in a statewide ballot on November 4th.
Prop 8 brought to an end nearly six months of legal gay marriage in California following a May ruling by the Supreme Court overturning a similar ballot that had restricted marriage to mixed-sex couples.
Vigils will be held in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, San Diego, San Jose, Fresno and other California locations and also in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
“We’ll stand together and send a unified message to our fellow Californians, including the Supreme Court Justices, that individual liberties like the right to marry are guaranteed by the Constitution to everyone and cannot be stripped away at the ballot box by a bare majority,” said Eve of Justice in a statement on their website.
“Just as important, we will give our love and support to all the families headed by same-sex couples who are threatened by the recent electoral outcome, as well as same-sex couples whose hopes and dreams of marriage and family have been frustrated by enactment of Prop 8.”
The vigils are sponsored by range of LGBT advocacy groups.
In May 2008 the California Supreme Court ruled against a previous Proposition approved in 2000 that defined marriage in the state as between a man and a woman.
The court ruled that laws that treat people differently based on their sexual orientation violate the equal protection clause of the California Constitution and that same-sex couples have the same fundamental right to marry as other Californians.
Proposition 8 challenged this ruling by explicitly denying gay people the right to marry.
18,000 same-sex couples got married before Prop 8 passed.
The California Supreme Court will begin hearing oral arguments on March 5th.
Dozens of groups have filed amicus curiae or “friend of the court” briefs arguing that Proposition 8 drastically alters the equal protection guarantee in California’s Constitution, and that the rights of a minority cannot be eliminated by a simple majority vote.