We Oaklanders gathered outside City Hall.
The steps were already full by the time I got there.
The program opened with the drumming of a ceremonial drum made by gay Native Americans. A woman had also burned some sage and called in the ancestors to come join us. We created a sacred space. Oh, California.
There were many different signs, of course. I really liked one that quoted the President of Spain declaring that gay marriage caused no harm to anyone's marriage on the day same-sex marriage was legalized in Spain. There were many signs that involved "H8." There was one sign that read, "Why do chickens have more rights than me?" or some such, which I thought was silly. Yes, Californians gave rights to chickens and took them away from gay people, but chickens still can't marry and gay people have always had the right to have enough room to stand up, turn around, and stretch their wings.
The lawn behind me also filled up as the protest went on. Cars passing by honked in solidarity. We engaged in silly chants.
There were speakers. This woman spoke about how far we'd come: when she'd been born, interracial marriage had been illegal. When she'd protested in DC before, no one came, not even the HRC. She asked for cheers from the "GLBT community" and the "straight allies." The woman in front of me remarked that there appeared to be the same amount of people from both sides, which was pretty cool.
This kid was awesome. He has two moms. When he got up to the microphone, he said, I've never spoken before a crowd this big before." We all cheered him on, drowning out his added "I've never spoken before a crowd..." He said that he never thought his family was different from any other family until he learned that his parents were discriminated against. The kids at school used the word "gay" to say mean things, so he figured they just didn't know what it meant; they'd probably just heard it from grown-ups. So he and his moms set up a program at school to teach the kids what it meant, and he thought the kids understood it better than the grown-ups did! People don't listen to kids enough, he said. It was so cute, and nothing could top it, which was good because I had to leave.
Rick and Lisa made a bunch of signs. I was lame and took one from someone else (she had made several).
I wore my Tegan and Sara shirt so they could be there in spirit.
I left the sign in the BART car. I strongly considered leaving my sticker on when visiting my uncle—who voted for Prop 8 because domestic partnerships gave gay couples all the legal rights of marriage and, besides, "What they do is not normal, so they shouldn't get to do what normal people do"—but I didn't want to provoke him since I knew I wasn't going to change his mind. I guess I only stand by my principles when I'm standing by people who agree with them.