S.D. Draws Nation's Largest Anti-Proposition 8 Crowd

    A San Diego rally and march last Saturday against the state’s newly approved same-sex marriage ban drew a crowd of around 20,000, making it the largest of the nation’s roughly 300 similar events that took place the same day.

    “This is not just a gay issue,” said Sara Beth Brooks, an El Cajon resident who organized the event. “It’s a community issue; it’s a civil rights issue. People want their voices to be heard.”

    Turnout at the San Diego event — which was double that at demonstrations in San Francisco and Los Angeles — came as a surprise to many people, including Eric Schiller, an organizer for the San Francisco protest.

    “[San Diego County] isn’t the bluest region of California,” he said. “Perhaps because San Diego isn’t known for demonstrations, more people took part.”
    Fifty-four percent of San Diego County voted for Proposition 8, whereas the approval rating in San Francisco was below 25 percent. Statewide, 52 percent of voters supported the measure.

    Fred Karger of Californians Against Hate — an organization that formed in July to monitor Proposition 8 donors — said the turnout at Saturday’s event might have been related to the large number of local residents who provided initial financial support to get the measure on the ballot.

    One example of such contributors is Doug Manchester, owner of the city’s Grand Manchester Hyatt hotel, where Karger said anti-Proposition 8 activists have recently organized boycotts.

    He added that many of the religious leaders who were advocates of Proposition 8 are based in the San Diego area, including the Rev. Jim Garlow of Skyline Church in Rancho San Diego.

    “You’re at ground zero,” Karger said.

    Additionally, incoming San Diego City Councilman Todd Gloria, who is openly gay, said San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders drew local attention to the issue when in 2007 he announced his support of same-sex marriage because his daughter is a lesbian.

    UCSD political science professor Thad Kousser had no explanation for the event’s turnout, but he said it was impressive, considering San Diego’s “stodgy and conservative” reputation.

    “So it does have an impact,” he said.

    More to Discover
    Donate to The UCSD Guardian
    $200
    $500
    Contributed
    Our Goal

    Your donation will support the student journalists at University of California, San Diego. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment, keep printing our papers, and cover our annual website hosting costs.

    Donate to The UCSD Guardian
    $200
    $500
    Contributed
    Our Goal