United States: The fight for equality equality goes on


In the wake of a narrow loss to the right wing in Maine in a November 3 referendum on whether or not to reverse same-sex marriage equality in the state, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights activists mobilised across the country to raise their voices for equality.

In Los Angeles, 500 people marched on November 4 to mark the one-year anniversary of the passage of Proposition 8 and protest the passage of Question 1 in Maine. The crowd called for the repeal of Prop 8 and full federal civil rights.

In Washington, D.C., a call put out for the morning of November 4, the day after the referendum, drew out more than 150 protesters with only about five hours' notice.

The same day in San Francisco, about 200 people filled the Harvey Milk Plaza in the Castro district for a rally called by the grassroots group One Struggle, One Fight.

Speakers emphasised the need for the community to fight back for other issues affecting the community, while organising for same-sex marriage in all 50 states.

The crowd took over the street and marched, before occupying the intersection at 18th and Castro Streets.

In Chicago on November 5, 200 people came together to demonstrate against the Maine decision. Protesters gathered outside the Thompson Center, then marched, bringing life and fury to the streets of downtown Chicago.

In San Diego, activists combined the fight for LGBT rights with the fight for workers' rights. About 100 people rallied on November 4 and then marched to the Manchester Hyatt, which is under boycott by UNITE HERE Local 30 due to workers being forced to clean twice the number of rooms of unionised hotels.

Billionaire owner Doug Manchester has been a target of LGBT activists and allies since he fronted $125,000 last year to help get Prop 8 onto the ballot.

In Gainesville, Florida, solidarity with labour was on display as well, as students at the University of Florida raised demands not only for LGBT equality, but fair treatment of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers — who grow and pick much of the food for the university.

In Seattle, where voters approved Referendum 71 — a ballot measure confirming a state law providing many rights, though not marriage itself, to domestic partners — students at the University of Washington staged a kiss-in to celebrate. A city-wide rally to celebrate was planned for November 14.

In Providence, Rhode Island, about 40 activists gathered in front of the federal courthouse to protest the Maine results.

In Texas, there were protests in Austin, where 80 people marched through the streets, and in Houston, where an equal number came out.

In Portland, Oregon, 35 people rallied in Pioneer Square against the Maine vote and in celebration of recent LGBT victories in Washington state and Kalamazoo, Michigan.

In Northampton, Massachusetts , 25 people turned out for a protest at City Hall that was called the same day the Maine election results were announced.

[Abridged from www.socialistworker.org.]