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Thousands march in San Francisco Pride rally to celebrate Supreme Court ruling

By staff |
June 27, 2013
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San Francisco rally to celebrate Supreme Court ruling.
San Francisco rally to celebrate Supreme Court ruling. (Fight Back! News/Staff)

San Francisco, CA - More than 1000 GLBTQ activists and allies rallied in the Castro District here to celebrate the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on June 26 to strike down the anti-gay, homophobic Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Demonstrators also celebrated the Court’s decision to uphold a 2012 ruling by the California Supreme Court that found Proposition 8, a 2008 ballot initiative banning same-sex marriage in the state, unconstitutional.

“Marriage equality was a demand. Now it’s becoming a reality,” said a 60-year-old demonstrator, who got engaged to his partner earlier in the day following the ruling.

The Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision that DOMA is invalid for specifically denying same-sex marriages recognized by 12 of the 50 states. DOMA was passed in 1996 by a Republican-dominated Congress and signed into law by Democrat President Bill Clinton. It effectively denied same-sex couples more than 1100 federal benefits offered to heterosexual couples, including tax deductions crucial to gay and lesbian working-class families.

After the ruling, activists marched through the heart of the Castro District with signs reading, “Prop 8 is dead!” and “Marriage equality now!” As one of the first largely gay working-class neighborhoods in the U.S., the Castro remains an important symbol in the struggle for GLBTQ equality.

California’s Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage in a June 2008 ruling, which was overturned less than five months later by Proposition 8, commonly called Prop 8. Backed by right-wing hate groups and wealthy conservatives, Prop 8 stripped gay and lesbian couples of their rights. Following massive protests across California and a successful state Supreme Court challenge, Prop 8 reached the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled that the California court’s decision to overturn it remained valid. This decision effectively reinstates same-sex marriage in the Golden State.

The rally paid tribute to freedom-fighters of the queer liberation struggle and international struggles against oppression. Activists chanted for South African leader Nelson Mandela, reportedly in critical condition, and several leaders on-stage reminded the demonstrators that South Africa is the only country with GLBTQ protections written into its constitution.

The rally assembled in front of a stage, where demonstrators listened to activists and other speakers talk about the Supreme Court’s ruling.