Stonewall Draws Crowd Celebrating Prop 8 Victory

[media-credit name=”Photo courtesy of Donna Aceto ” align=”aligncenter” width=”600″][/media-credit]
MENY’s interim executive director Brian Silva addressed the Stonewall celebration.
BY  TROY MASTERS |  A gathering of more than 75 people turned out on the evening of February 7 for a flash celebration of the ruling from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirming a 2010 federal district court decision that found California’s Proposition 8 unconstitutional.

The gathering was called by Marriage Equality New York within hours of the three-judge panel’s ruling being announced at 1 p.m. New York time.

Cathy Marino-Thomas, MENY’s communications director, emphasized that the appellate ruling was narrow, finding a constitutional flaw in the fact that California voters took away a right to marry for same-sex couples established roughly six months before by the State Supreme Court. The ruling did not address the underlying question of whether “under the Constitution same-sex couples may ever be denied the right to marry.”

The court’s refusal to address that broader issue did not dampen the enthusiasm of those on hand, but Marino-Thomas and other speakers –– including City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, MENY’s interim executive director Brian Silva, Jake Goodman, who is active with the grassroots group Queer Rising, and civil rights attorney Yetta Kurland –– emphasized that gay marriage supporters must continue to press the case for repeal of the US Defense of Marriage Act, which denies federal recognition to all same-sex marriages.

The speakers urged the crowd, which spilled out of the bar onto Christopher Street, to continue pressing Congress to act on the Respect for Marriage Act. That legislation, sponsored by US Representative Jerry Nadler of New York and California Senator Dianne Feinstein, both Democrats, would repeal the 1996 anti-gay law. The measure has 32 sponsors in the Senate and 138 in the House, only one of whom is a Republican.