Photoblog: Anti-Prop 8 Rally, Dupont Circle, 5-26-09

alex01thumbI went to one of the anti-Prop 8 protests after the California Supreme Court released its decision. The one nearest to me was Dupont Circle. Starting around 8 in the evening, protesters started to fill the Circle itself, and the rally began at approximately 8:40. Speakers included Willow Witty, founder of Join The Impact, DC Council member Phil Mendelsohn (misnamed in my Twitter as “Bill”…sorry Phil, I heard the announcement wrong!), and Vice President for Membership of NOW, Latifa Lyles.

Pictures courtesy of me and my crappy Sony Cybershot, which doesn’t do that well in low light or with my shaky hands, so apologies for the blur. Any weird little motes in the later photographs are small raindrops my flash caught once I decided to turn it on.

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14 Comments

  1. Thanks Alex for bringing the story up close!

  2. oh

    and I think we should all take up a collection for a “big girl” camera!

    =)

  3. That sign calling for removing the Mormon church tax exemption points out that intolerance is at both sides of this debate. The Mormon Church has every right to express their beliefs and support them the way they did with proposition 8. Going after them for that is counterproductive and gives credence to allegations that those in support of gay marriage are more interested in supporting the “gay agenda” and not obtaining the right to marriage.

    Let me explain: I once had a conversation with a friend of mine back in Puerto Rico about gay marriage. I told him that I saw no problem in letting gay marriage because we would only be publicly accepting relationship that we know are going on and are as solid as heterosexual relationship. My friend, a very devout Baptist agreed with me but was concerned that laws in favor of gay marriage will force churches to officiate gay weddings or face a lawsuit if they refused.

    I told him that wouldn’t happen because in this country there is freedom of religion and the government cannot force any religion into endorsing actions that are again their core beliefs. But soon after that came the news that catholic charities in Massachusetts stopped providing adoption services because they will have to allow gays and lesbians to adopt children. The church asked for an exception due to religious grounds and didn’t get it. And sure, my Baptist friend came back to me and remind me of my previous argument about freedom of religion… and to this day I cannot help but to agree that he had a good point.

  4. Alex, allow me for a suggestion while Michelle revs up the collection for your “big girl” camera. Most of the pictures came out really good, but some were shaky because the camera moved a little bit when you pressed on the shooter. That happens every time you do that, but in night mode is more noticeable because the camera opens the lens for a little longer to capture more light.

    I found a solution by using the camera timer, which your camera probably has and using a 2 second delay. That way, when you press the shooter you have at least two seconds to try to get your hand really steady and avoid the shakiness. You can also get a tripod or find out if there is a remote control for your camera too. That would be even better, but try the timer trick and see how it works for you.

  5. Thanks, Michelle, Ulises! No need for a new camera, though, but thanks for the thought all the same. 🙂 I do need a tripod – I’ve been looking at the Gorilla Tripods, or whatever they’re called – the ones that can wind around things like railings, or maybe one of those unipods that I can brace against my foot. I’ll try the timer trick, though! My hands are never incredibly steady when I’m taking pictures, even when I hold my breath and try to be as still as possible. It’s just something I have to try and fix by cutting down on my caffeine intake (hah, yeah right).

    That argument does make sense to a point, but when enough money comes from religious organizations to back a political cause like Prop 8, it begs the question, are the church and the state truly independent of one another? IMO, religion should have no role in shaping policy, and that includes donations to causes that agree with religious ideology made on their behalf (if individuals of whatever religion donate to that political cause, that’s fine – when it’s done in the name of an organization I get twitchy)…but I know that’s not going to happen anytime soon. I may not agree with the Catholic charities’ decision to refuse adoption to gay and lesbian couples on the grounds of their sexual orientation, nor do I agree with their shutting down their adoption services entirely, but that is entirely up to them. (My best friend was raised by two lesbians. She turned out better-adjusted than some kids I know in traditional nuclear families.) This issue is prickly stuff any way you slice it.

  6. “That argument does make sense to a point, but when enough money comes from religious organizations to back a political cause like Prop 8, it begs the question, are the church and the state truly independent of one another? “

    Yes. There was an election, they took a position and spent their money promoting it. Their position won. That’s how things are suppose to work in a democracy and the amount of money they spent is irrelevant. Is not like they stuffed the pockets of California’s elected officials to get what they wanted.

    Religios organizations have spend untold millions (probably billions…who’s counting?) since Roe vs. Wade legalized abortion, trying very hard to overturn it. Yet, abortion remains legal in this country.

  7. In this country, churches are institutions of religion. Not policy. There’s a great hue and cry when corporate interests donate to politicians who then create law in their favor (though not as much as there should be, quite frankly)…and yet little fuss is made when religious organizations donate more and back causes so officially they might as well be turning the sign of the cross into a trademarked logo, whether they succeed in their endeavors or not. Religion and politics are like, I don’t know, water and cesium, say. You mix ’em together, you get a big and dangerous kaboom. They didn’t stuff the pockets of the elected officials…just the pockets of those running the “Yes on 8” campaign. But whatever, that’s semantics, right? Not organized religion becoming politics…’course not.

    You already know my position on the role of religion in politics and in the lives of nonreligious people, so I’m going to quit before the afterburners kick in and put me into stratospheric ranting.

  8. “…so I’m going to quit before the afterburners kick in and put me into stratospheric ranting.”

    “Luke… come to the Dark Side… start ranting…!” he he…

    No, seriously, you should read this document, specially the first amendment… oh well… don’t bother, here it goes:

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

  9. The First Amendment!!! Lawks a mercy, how ever shall I cope?! Oh wait. That’s tattooed on the inside of my eyelids, hon. You’ll have to do better than a so-called “zinger” with the nearest and dearest of the Amendments to my heart…especially since, contextually, the part you bolded makes no sense. You’d have done better off to emphasize “shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”, and tried to base your argument off of political donations being an example of religious freedom. (Which itself clashes with the idea that government and organized religion should be disparate entities so as to avoid the problems that arose with a state religion in England during the time of the Puritans, which the Founding Fathers were trying to avoid by establishing religious tolerance from the get-go and thus inviting conflicting viewpoints on faith and culture to share the same table. But oh, how I rattle on with important context when everyone knows it’s just how you finagle donations that’s the heart of the matter.)

    And free exercise/redress of grievances means “unfettered donations to political causes” since…when? Ooh, or did I miss that day in civics when “freedom of religion” and “petitioning the government for a redress of grievances” actually was revealed to mean “church money becomes a microcosmic PAC fund for whatever bottlebrush we sat on today”?

    Also: Petitioning the government for a redress of grievances =/= getting pissed because two people who love each other would like the legal advantages of spending the rest of their lives together as a married couple, and them just happening to be of the same gender. The federal court system was set up specifically to prevent the tyranny of the majority from trampling the civil rights of minorities – racial, ideological, or otherwise. Took about one-eighty, two hundred of the USA’s approximately 230 years as an independent nation for us to recognize non-white people as equal citizens under the law, and the issue of sexual orientation/gender identity is not as clear-cut as the issue of race. (FYI, petitioning the government for a redress of grievances = …petitioning the government for a redress of grievances. This is why the Tax Day Tea Parties, while kind of stupid, were legit, and why bitching because two gay people want to visit each other in the hospital when they’re sick is not. The first is a right; the second is whining about how other people live their lives when it doesn’t actually affect you, and denying them basic rights due to factors beyond their control.)

    Religious organizations have special financial status, including the fact that they remain untaxed while sitting on perfectly good land…that would be taxed if used by anything else. (Like, say, a political institute. Or a doctor’s office. Or a software company. Or residential land. Or…) If I wanted organized religion in my politics, I’d move to Iran.

    Sarcasm thrusters at 20% and rising. Emergency brake engaged. Sleep parachutes deployed. Thank you for flying with us today, and we hope that in future you’ll choose Arguing With A Stubborn Liberal Teenage Girl With Strong Opinions About Things And A Belief In A Fundamentally Egalitarian Society For All for your next delving into the soul-crushing realm of blog comments. Have a nice day!

  10. “..especially since, contextually, the part you bolded makes no sense.”

    Mmmm… you are right, I should have bolded the part about “…or abridging the freedom of speech” since that’s actually at the crux of what I’m trying to point out, mainly that religious organizations have a right, as any other citizen, corporations, special interest group and so on to express their opinion on any subject. With Prop 8 the Mormon Church were supporting their position in an open election.

    IRS requirements for tax exemption and the policital activites permited of exempt organizations are unambiguous regarding the activities they are allowed to engage in. During the Prop 8 campaing the Mormom Church was not supporting candidate ‘x’ running for office and they were not lobbying the government. They were saying “we support traditional marriage for this and that and we encourage you to do the same”.

    ’And free exercise/redress of grievances means “unfettered donations to political causes” since…when? Ooh, or did I miss that day in civics when “freedom of religion” and “petitioning the government for a redress of grievances” actually was revealed to mean “church money becomes a microcosmic PAC fund for whatever bottlebrush we sat on today”’

    Again, is my fault for bolding the “redress of grievances” passage of the first amendment and taking the debate in the wrong direction, but nothing the Mormon Church did in California runs against IRS regulations.

    ” This is why the Tax Day Tea Parties, while kind of stupid..”

    May I ask why..?

  11. Yes, they have the right to support a position – but IMO (again, I’m no law student – yet) – religious organizations shouldn’t be using their tremendous influence to promote political causes. I’m not raising an issue of legality, just morality. Is it morally right to use the clout of the church to promote a cause that discriminates against civil rights for anybody? (For an extreme example, slavery was promoted in the Old Testament. Could some church hypothetically lobby the congregation to a political cause that endorses keeping slaves? Didn’t that happen already? I seem to recall some arguments from history that “well, God said we could have slaves, so it’s okay”.) Your mileage may vary, depending on your interpretation of your religious text of choice and whether or not it’s put into historical context, or, as it is the infallible word of God, we must conform to it.

    It’s fine, I get the formatting error. It was late at night. It happens. 🙂 I probably shouldn’t have gotten as sarcastic as I did.

    The protests themselves weren’t stupid (though it’s interesting how the people who weren’t going to have their taxes raised came out to protest on behalf of the richest people in the country, but I digress), but the way they were set up and promoted and lobbied by the media, especially FOX, made it more of an astroturf movement than a grassroots one – a manufactured, marketed, die-cast, inorganic outrage. People can think whatever they want to think, but that doesn’t mean I can’t think that the way they’re going about trying to change the government’s position is ineffective, and, in the manner of some of the news personalities, attention-whorey. (Glenn Beck at the Alamo? Lord a’mighty.)

  12. I meant to say “shouldn’t be using their tremendous influence to finance political causes” and “Is it morally right to use the clout of the church to promote and finance a cause that discriminates against civil rights for anybody?” See, I screw up too. 🙂

  13. Thanks, I just wanted to know your opinion and I didn’t plan to comment on it. But, yesterday the Orlando Magic’s are in the NBA finals and will go against my favorite team, the Lakers. Went to see the game at a local bar, had lots of fun and I’m back in front of my Mac seeing how the rest of the “Dosers” apparently left this debate for both of us… so… here I go again…sorry… can’t help it… :$

    “The protests themselves weren’t stupid (though it’s interesting how the people who weren’t going to have their taxes raised came out to protest on behalf of the richest people in the country, but I digress)”

    O.k. I seems to remember that you did coner some of the tea parties, didn’t you? Nobody told you that they were also protesting about the bailouts, wasteful government spending, and the “stimulus” bill? Next Monday GM is expected to announce that it will go bankrupt, after billions of dollars in taxpayer money have been sent their way (Rasmussen announced a poll today about that. 67% of those asked are against it). Do you realize that we could have left GM gone bankrupt and the only cost incurred by the government would have been the judge salary and courts procedures? I really fail to see why the people protesting at tea parties should be happy about the way the government chose to deal with this matter.

    How about the TARP bailouts? Even solid banks like Wells Fargo were forced to take TARP funds because the sky would fall if they didn’t. What for? Do you know where the TARP funds are being spent? AIG paid billions of dollars to foreign banks. Do you know why? Neither I, the press is too busy asking Obama about more enchanting pressing issues to care to find out.

    Almost 2 trillions dollars in “stimulus” have been spent by the federal government since last year (yes, it all started with the devil George W.). Unemployment is still going up, GDP declined 5.7% during the first quarter of this year. So the “stimulus” is not working, and when citizen protest because is their children future that is being laid to waste (remember, the government is running a deficit… we don’t have that money, were are paying everything with money borrowed from our new overlords, the Chinese) they are insulted and maligned by the press.

    “but the way they were set up and promoted and lobbied by the media, especially FOX, made it more of an astroturf movement than a grassroots one – a manufactured, marketed, die-cast, inorganic outrage.”

    Fox news set up the tea party movement? I mean, I know they promoted it and I personally think they should have stick to their journalistic function and simply report about it. But that’s far from saying that they actually organized them and is not worse than what MSNBC and CNN did with their juvenile “tea bagging” jokes and insults at the protesters. Didn’t you catch Keith Olbermann and his good friend Jane Garofalo remarks about the protesters being “racist” and a “bunch of tea bagging rednecks”? Let’s agree that this was not the MSN finest hour and leave it at that.

    “People can think whatever they want to think, but that doesn’t mean I can’t think that the way they’re going about trying to change the government’s position is ineffective…”

    Suggestions are welcome…

  14. Ah…glad you had fun then! 🙂 I was at prom. Less fun. Lame DJ. Crap dancing.

    I didn’t mean the media set up the protests – got a little mixed up with my subject-verb agreement – but they definitely shone the national spotlight on them. I don’t agree with Olbermann and Garofalo; I disagreed with the protests and thought the way they were promoted and…I hate to say “blown out of proportion” when talking about other people’s grievances, but it kind of was…it was treated like the Boston Tea Party. Which it wasn’t. What the two had in common was that they were just a waste of perfectly good tea. :/

    My solution: 1. Run for office, get elected. If as many people are as pissed off as they seem to be, votes shouldn’t be a problem.
    2. Use sheer force of numbers to change the way things work from inside the system rather than outside.
    (3. ???
    4. Profit!)

    GM pisses me off, and I think we should have just let it collapse. But that would have definitely screwed over the economy, and we tried to fix it. They just couldn’t get back up on their feet. And I’ve seen construction projects and other results of the stimulus package in my state. No matter what the government does, people will consider it wasteful. Hurrah. Reminds me of that saying, “You have to spend money to make money.”

    Yeah, China does kind of own us. I’ve known that for a while. If they decided to stop making crap for Target and Wal-Mart, the economy would probably implode with enough force to create an actual black hole.

    Note that I didn’t actually insult and malign them in my coverage, but took care to interview those on both sides. 🙂


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