Several hundred opponents of Proposition 8 rallied outside Mountain View City Hall Saturday, many dressed up as brides and carrying signs against the ban on same-sex marriage. They cheered on speakers and waved signs reading, "Will your marriage be next" and "love does not discriminate," before spontaneously marching up and down Castro Street.
Local members of the Raging Grannies, an activist group, organized the rally in conjunction with other protests nationwide supporting the right of everyone to marry. Similar rallies were held in San Jose and San Francisco. Members of the group said they wanted to provide a venue for Peninsula residents to speak out against the ban, which protesters called a civil rights issue.
"There are many people who are really hurt by the passage of Proposition 8," said Ruth Robertson, a Raging Granny. "Mountain View is a place where people can speak out."
The Nov. 15 protest came just 11 days after Californians passed Proposition 8, overturning a state Supreme Court ruling that gave same-sex couples the right to marry. Also on Nov. 4, voters in Arizona and Florida passed constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage, and in Arkansas gay and lesbian couples can no longer adopt children.
The Raging Grannies wore wedding dresses to honor the thousands of same-sex couples who married in California while the ceremonies were legal. They led the approximately 200 protesters, of all ages, sexual orientations and backgrounds, in chants outside City Hall singing, "Here come the brides, here come the grooms, what does it matter who marries whom."
"It was hopeful," said Susan Taylor, a Mountain View resident and Raging Granny. "It is not just gay people. Human beings as a whole want to be fair."
The Grannies said they had prepared additional songs, but gave way to the many protesters who wanted to speak. One woman said she and her partner had married three times during periods when same-sex marriage laws changed back and forth in California.
A local high school student attended the rally to gather material for a paper she is writing for her social studies class because, she said, the struggle "is history in the making," according to the Grannies.
After the rally, the crowd spontaneously started marching throughout downtown Mountain View, leaving the Grannies behind.
"No civil rights were ever earned by doing something once and folding your tent and going home," Taylor said. "It takes a lot of people coming together so the world can see the right and acceptable thing."
The rally also attracted a few Proposition 8 supporters, and some drivers who passed by gave the thumbs-down sign to the protesters.
"In Mountain View, people are able to listen, even if they do not agree," Robertson said. "
The Raging Grannies said this was only the beginning. After the rally, Baxter-Berman said that although it may take a while to overturn the ban, she knew people would keep fighting.
"This is an issue that has legs," Raging Granny Barbara Baxter-Berman said. "It is not going to disappear.