Proposition 8 Gives Rise to New Generation of Gay Leaders
Posted on January 4, 2009
Filed Under Uncategorized
After state voters passed Proposition 8 on November 4, gays, lesbians and their straight allies took to the streets in Los Angeles and West Hollywood, demanding the repeal of the ballot measure that bans same-sex marriage in California. The outrage over the vote also brought about several boycotts that forced “Yes on 8″ contributors like L.A. Film Festival director Richard Raddon out of a job.
But one of the more interesting and sometimes overlooked post–Prop. 8 developments has been a shakeup within the gay establishment and the rise of younger activists looking for a seat at the power table. Dave Valk, a 21-year-old senior at UCLA, and Joe Townley, a 30-year-old Internet entrepreneur, founded, with others, an activist group called Demonstrate Change. Vincent Jones, a 32-year-old staffer at Common Cause, expected to do more outreach in the African-American community, which mostly voted for Proposition 8.
In the meantime, the California State Supreme Court will hear arguments from gay-rights lawyers probably in March, asking the court to overturn Prop. 8 and legalize same-sex marriage in this state once again. To keep the “No on 8″ cause alive, Valk, Townley and people like them have been gearing up for protests in January and February, as well as a possible March on Washington in April. Other gay activists in Los Angeles — young and old, rookies and veterans — are also organizing a more grassroots-oriented gay-rights movement, with Rick Jacobs of the Courage Campaign providing support.
In our article published shortly before the election, polls showed voters who opposed same-sex marriage gaining ground on voters who backed same-sex marriage. The article, “Riding the Cultural Divide with Proposition 8,” explained the national consequences of either outcome, as well as the mounting turmoil and trouble unfolding inside the campaign to defeat the measure.
See Proposition 8 Gives Rise to New Generation of Gay Leaders
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