If you thought the passage of Proposition 8 to ban same-sex marriage only affected people in California, you'd be wrong.
Today some 200 Portlanders gathered in the Park Blocks by Portland State University to protest Proposition 8 and express their opinions about legislation affecting same-sex couples in Oregon and nationwide.
Demonstrators were young and old, gay and straight, and many had signs calling for tolerance, acceptance and most of all, equality.
Mark Haley, 34, said he attended for two reasons: to support the anti-Prop 8 movement, and because he feared similar legislation in Oregon.
“I don't want to see domestic partnership get taken away here,” said Haley, who has a domestic partner and works in the health insurance industry. “In Oregon I think it's great that we have pretty much every right that straight people have. But not being able to get married, it doesn't feel quite equal.”
Demonstrators Katie Boeh and Nicole Sangsuree-Barrett share Haley's sentiments about same-sex marriage and its impact on equality.
Boeh and Sanguree-Barrett, both 28, are engaged and had planned to get married in California sometime next year.
“It was really disappointing,” Sanguree-Barrett said of Prop 8. “I think straight people take marriage for granted. I've just accepted, since I started dating women, that I can't get married. Straight people I don't think realize that it's a choice. For me, I don't have that option.”
At least not any more in California, where until Nov. 4, the option was available to same-sex couples.
To Boeh, Sanguree-Barrett's fiancé, that's the most upsetting part of the gay marriage issue.
“The most unfortunate thing is the flip-flopping,” Boeh said. “Granting rights and taking them away, it really leaves folks hopeless and gives people no sense of stability.”
Among the speakers at the protest was Mayor-elect Sam Adams. When he took the megaphone, the crowd roared and broke out into a “Yes we can!” chant.
“They said this ban is about marriage,” Adams yelled over the crowd, “but it's really about respect!”
Adams went on to talk about the effects Prop 8 has on places other than California, spreading a negative message to communities around the country.
That's something that Boeh and Sanguree-Barrett echo in their reasons for getting involved politically with the anti-Prop 8 movement.
“No matter where it happens,” Boeh said, “it affects people everywhere when there is an anti-gay measure.”