On the evening of March 25 Episcopalians from the Diocese of California gathered with hundreds of others at the intersections of Market and Castro Streets to demonstrate in favor of the Supreme Court’s overturning Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act. The demonstration began with several speakers. Sister Pat N. Leather of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence led the group in a litany rejecting shame and accepting joy. Drag entertainment icon Donna Sachet spoke briefly and gave humor to the crowd. Grace Cathedral had a particular presence of between 60 and 75.
Following these speakers, the Rt. Rev. Marc Handley Andrus, bishop of the Diocese of California, spoke to the crowd about how marriage equality is not only about love, but inequality is about one group of humans saying that another is less than human. He remarked, “Human beings are beings with agency and standing, with dignity that is from within. [Those deemed] ‘non-humans,’ wrongly or rightly find their lives constrained and determined from outside themselves by those who consider themselves to be proper human beings. It is unthinkable that one human being should be able to control the free choices of other human beings to love and be loved.”
After the first batch of speakers, the exhilarated and joyful crowd walked from Castro Street, down Market to San Francisco City Hall. The crowd of a few thousand consisted of people from every walk of life — young, old, gay, straight. Several children, some of whom have two same sex parents who wished to marry, were spotted in the crowd. While walking down Market Street, the marchers closed off the entire inbound side of the busy thoroughfare and many carried clever and poignant signs showing support for marriage equality and urging the Supreme Court to strike down Proposition 8 and DOMA. Once the crowd reached City Hall, many speakers, including Karen Oliveto, pastor of Glide Memorial Church, gave brief yet inspiring remarks.
March organizers also read a supportive letter from gay rights activist Cleve Jones, who could not attend because he was in Washington D.C. in order to have a front row seat to the Supreme Court oral arguments. Scott Weiner, of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors spoke, and Supervisor David Chu was in attendance. Daniel Martinez-Leffew, who wrote a letter to Chief Justice John Roberts, marched and read his letter at City Hall. Crowds were very enthusiastic as he read, and he brought tears to the eyes of many, perhaps as the best moment of the demonstration.
photos: Katie Wilcox