Crowd gathering to March4Equality on March 25th at the corner of Castro and Market. Photo: Roy McKenzie
Monday night nearly 2500 marriage and LGBT equality activists and their supporters gathered at Harvey Milk Plaza to demand Prop 8 and the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) be struck down by the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) who hear oral arguments today and tomorrow in DC.
The SF/Castro March 4 Equality was organized by volunteers as part of a nationwide push to bring marriage and LGBT rights activists and supporters into the street at over 200 locations in all 50 states.
Organizers kept it simple-a traditional flat-bed truck, sound system, banners, posters, a coalition of support from clergy to politicians and crowd of enthusiastic and committed supporters to march along Market Street to SF City Hall where speeches and testimonies from different citizens directly effected by the impending SCOTUS decision.
The lively gathering at Market and Castro started small as the fog and wind rolled over Twin Peaks bearing down on the neighborhood with about 200 early protestors armed with flags and banners made a show of early support and entreating neighborhood participation.
Local activist, Trey Allen, armed with a bullhorn and a man dressed as Gay Boy Liberty, acted as town crier for the event as commuters arriving home off of MUNI made their way up the steps of Harvey Milk Plaza.
Being a predominately Gay March the event didn’t start on time as more and more participants made their way through rush hour to the gathering spot in the Castro. After a half hour delay the crowd stood near an estimated 1500 cutting along all gender, racial, age, economical and political SF lines.
Page Hodel, SF legendary DJ, kicked things off and blasted upbeat tunes as the crowd swelled along the traditional protest route down Market Street to City Hall. An estimated 2500 people filled Market Street and you could see the protestors numbers stretching far back from Van Ness to Laguna Street.
At City Hall chief march organizer, Gregg Cassin, acted as emcee. The highlight of all the speakers was young Daniel Martinez who’d appeared earlier Monday on MSNBC as part of their Marriage Equality coverage. The son of a Gay SF Sheriff and his partner, he read from a letter he wrote to SCOTUS Chief Justice, John Roberts about the love and quality of his family.
“My family is as good as any other family. We deserve the right to be happy and to be safe. I know that you may not agree with Gay people based on your religious beliefs, but, you should agree that we’re all Americans and deserve to be treated the same.” Daniel read.
Matty, one of the youngest March organizers at 20 who’s never even been to a Gay Pride Parade, read a prepared statement from the most well-known of the SF Equality March team, longtime LGBT activist now Union organizer, Cleve Jones, who’s in DC watching the SCOTUS proceedings.
“No matter what happens in the next two days-no matter how the Court rules-you should know we’ve always been equal!” Matty read from Jones as the crowd burst into a roar of approval.
As millions of Americans wait to see which way the Court will lean in the next two days vigils are planned in every state. In San Francisco activists plan to wear red to show support of full equality in all things under the law and gather at the Supreme Court at 350 McAllister.
Fingers crossed we’re all a step closer to truly having ‘equality for all’ by the end of the week.
Photos: Waiyde Palmer. Roy McKenzie unless otherwise noted.
Photo: Roy McKenzie
Photo: Roy McKenzie
Photo: Roy McKenzie
Supervisor Scott Wiener observing the crowd. Photo: Roy McKenzie
Your trusty (and grainy) bloggers at City Hall.
Kris Thomas and boyfriend Andy Clemets grab a quick smooch as the march prepares to start. Photo: Getty Images
Young lovers watch the Equality March go by.
Trey Allen, Equality Activists and volunteer in organizing the March 4 Equality reacts on the back of the truck to the large crowd.
Shaun Osburn of EQCA looks on as the crowd gathers at Market & Church
Rodrigo Carballo and his partner Toby Morris hoping SCOTUS rules in favor of marriage equality so their engagement can end at last.
Robert & Scott Doyle, sons of Brandon & Brian, show support enticing drivers to ‘honk for equality’ as they wait for the March to begin.
Judson Gregory & pal amongst the marchers.
Immigration 4 Equality Activists working to get bi-national Queer couples equal rights as same nation couples and stop the deportations that lead to family break ups and heartache.
David Campos, Supervisor for Dist. 9, speaking with a reporter from the B.A.R. “The time for full equality has come.”
Married couple local business owner of 360 Skin and RN, Brandon & Brian Doyle, with their two sons, Robert and Scotty.
Three SF Supes march for Equality: (L-R) Jane Kim, David Campos, Scott Wiener.