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Sep 18, 2007 News: Californian Gays Will Rally For Equal Marriage
By Sven Rabatzky

(USA) - Equality California (EQCA), Marriage Equality USA (MEUSA) and other allied organizations are staging rallies in over a dozen cities throughout California to show the Governor Schwarzenegger that the will of the people supports equality. The groups also urge him ‘to be a hero’, not do a veto sequel but rather sign the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act recently passed by Californian lawmakers. The rallies are sheduled for Tuesday, 18 September.

The California State Senate approved AB 43, The Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act, on September 7 by a vote of 22-15. The legislature's lower house, the State Assembly, had passed the Act earlier this year by a vote of 42-34. The governor has until October 14 to sign or veto the bill extending civil marriage to Gay couples.

The California bill would define marriage in gender-neutral terms as a union between two individuals. It would extend, where possible, the same state protections of marriage to homosexual couples as to heterosexual ones. Religious fundamentalist groups are permitted to refuse to perform a marriage ceremony if their beliefs disapprove it.

"We are gathering together around the state to urge the Governor to look into our faces, to think of our children who have to explain why their families aren't good enough to marry to the schoolyard bullies, or to consider the seniors who struggle with explaining to uninformed cremation businesses that as domestic partners they actually do have the right to make such decisions for their deceased partners, at least in California," said Molly McKay, MEUSA Media Director. "Like hundreds of thousands of same-sex couples, I can't wait to marry my life-partner, Davina. We only want for our families what the Governor wants for his own wife and children, the same dignity, security and peace of mind of knowing that their Government will see and treat them as a family. Domestic partnerships are unequal and unfair. We simply seek the freedom to marry and live our own happily ever afters."

"With a stroke of a pen, the Governor will determine this week what role he will play in this civil rights struggle of our generation. We plan to rally across the state to urge Governor Schwarzenegger to be the courageous hero who does the right thing and ensures true equality for hundreds of thousands of his LGBT Constituents," said Pamela Brown, MEUSA Policy Director. "He can no longer hide behind the Prop 22 Ballot measure from 2000. The entire landscape around LGBT equality has moved light years forward from that dark time in California's history. After the Marriage Equality bill passed the California Legislature in 2005, not one legislator who voted for the bill lost their seat, in fact those who voted for the bill, were elected over those who abstained in the following election. Then in the 2006 elections, even more pro-marriage equality candidates were elected and this year and the California Legislature again passed the Marriage Equality bill with even more votes than before. Opponents of marriage equality claim that 'judicial activism' is responsible for the extension of civil rights to same-sex couples. With the California Supreme Court set to hear this issue early next year, this may be the last chance for the Governor to fulfill California's destiny to become the first state in the nation to secure marriage equality through the Legislature. The time is now and we hope that the Governor leaves a legacy of standing on the side of ensuring all Californians are treated equally under the law."

Previously, several groups have called on Governor Schwarzenegger to sign the Bill (read more).

Rallies will be held in Bakersfield, Fresno, Humboldt, Lakeport, Los Angeles, Marin, Modesto, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco Bay Area, San Luis Obispo, Santa Rosa, Silicon Valley, Stockton, Ukiah, and Yolo.

Rallies will be held on Tuesday, September 18th across the state in the following locations:

Bakersfield (Kern County) - Gather at 5 p.m. at the Liberty Bell at corner of Truxtun and Chester. Contact Whitney at wlwedd@aol.com or 661-204-3180.

Fresno - Gather at 5:30 p.m. at Blackstone and Shaw Ave. Contact Jason at 559-862-4559 or ca-fresno@marriageequality.org.

Humboldt - Gather at 5:30 pm at the Humboldt County Courthouse at 825 5th Street, Eureka. Contact Justin at 707-845-7080 or ca-humboldt@marriageequality.org

Lakeport (Lake County) - Gather at 6 p.m. at the corner of Main Street and Third. Contact Laurie at 707-367-1557 or ca-lake@marriageequality.org.

Los Angeles - Gather at time [TBA] at the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center's McDonald/Wright Building at 1625 N. Schrader Boulevard for a march to Gov. Schwarzenegger's star on Hollywood Blvd. Contact Jim Key at 323-993-7623 or jkey@lagaycenter.org.

Marin (San Rafael) - Meet at the corner of Third and Irwin Streets from 4 to 7 p.m. Contact Dolores at 415-456-9010 or zahwa1@aol.com.

Modesto (Stanislaus County) - Meet at the corner of 10th and J Street from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Contact Beth Holden at 209-576-5207 or ca-stanislaus@marriageequality.org.

Sacramento (Sacramento and Yolo Counties) - Meet at the West Steps of the State Capitol near 11th and L streets from 5:30 to 7 p.m. (Public parking is located at 10th and L streets.) E-mail Lysa Twardosz at ca-sacramento@marriageequality.org or call Christine Allen at 916-455-4256.

San Diego (2 Important Events) -

City Council Meeting: Tuesday, September 18, 2 p.m.

12th Floor Council Chambers, 202 C Street, downtown

The City Council of San Diego will decide on Tuesday, September 18, if the city should join other major cities in the state on a local government friend-of-the-court brief supporting marriage equality in the case currently pending before the California Supreme Court.

Community Rally: Tuesday, Sept. 18, 6 p.m.

San Diego State University.

Gather at 6 p.m. at the corner of Montezuma Road and College Avenue. Contact Matt Palm at 858-472-5439 or youth@marriageequality.org.

San Francisco Bay Area - Meet at 5:30 p.m. at the LGBT Center (1800 Market, corner of Market and Octavia) for a press conference with Assemblymember Mark Leno, followed by a march to Harvey Milk Plaza (corner of Castro and Market). Contact Pamela Brown at 510-384-3655 or policydirector@marriageequality.org.

San Luis Obispo - Gather at 5 p.m. in front of the new San Luis Obispo Government Building at 1055 Monterey. Contact David at 805-440-6487 or email slo@eqca.org.

Santa Rosa - Gather at 5:30 p.m. on the steps of City Hall at the corner of 2nd and Mendocino. Contact Chari Davison at (707) 579-1922 or chari_d@hotmail.com..

Silicon Valley (San Jose) - Gather at 6 p.m. at the Billy DeFrank LGBT Center in San Jose. Contact Aejaie at 408-293-3040 x103 or aejaie@defrank.org.

Stockton - Gather at 5:30 p.m. at the San Joaquin Pride Center at 4410 North Pershing Avenue, Suite C-22. Contact Martina at 209-518-9102 or email ca-sanjoaquin@marriageequality.org.

Ukiah (Mendocino County) - Gather at 5:30 p.m. in front of the courthouse at Perkins and State St. Contact Jody Johnson at 707.489.6082 or ca-mendocino@marriageequality.org.

Marriage Equality USA is a US-wide grassroots organization whose mission is to secure legally recognized civil marriage equality for all, at the federal and state level, without regard to gender identity or sexual orientation.

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