California | Gay Marriage | Los Angeles | Mormon | News

Thousands Join Marriage Equality Protest at L.A. Mormon Church

March

Right now approximately 3,000 demonstrators protesting the Church of Latter Day Saints' funding of the Proposition 8 measure banning gay marriage in California have left a protest that began near the Mormon Temple in Westwood and have shut down major roads at rush hour.

March2

I took the screenshots above from the ABC live webcam at approximately 5:20 PM Pacific time. As you can see thousands are clogging one side of the street.

Intersections are also being blocked:

Intersection

The action began with a planned 2 pm news conference in front of the Mormon Temple in response to the Mormon church’s leading role in the deceptive advertising campaign for Proposition 8. Lorri L. Jean, CEO, L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center, Jorge Valencia, Executive Director, Point Foundation , and Rev. Neil Thomas, Metropolitan Community Church were to speak at the news conference.

One of the initiatives the organizers announced was THIS ONLINE INITIATIVE to help the organizations working to invalidate Proposition 8, coupled with a postcard campaign to the President of the Mormon church. See PDF here.

In related news, a drive is underway to strip the Mormon church of its tax exempt status. See HERE. And more protests are planned. See HERE.

Mormon1

A Towleroad reader reported in at about 3:15 pm California time that people were arriving by the hundreds in the intense heat and sunshine, shouting "tax the Mormon church" and "shame on you!" He sent along these photos. Church officials were reported to be seen standing on the front porch of the church, some of them filming the crowd.

Mormon2_2 Mormon3_2

Our reader texted: "Lorri Jean just arrived and is leading the crowd in a call and response of 'What do we want? - Equal Rights! -When do we want it? - Now!." He added, "[There is] heavy traffic on Santa Monica Boulevard right in front of the temple. Drivers are very supportive...honking horns and giving thumbs up signs. Crowd is spilling into street clogging traffic."

Mormon4_2Half an hour later, at 3:45, our reader texted, "Thousands of protesters are here now...crowd is circling the temple perhaps because the back of the temple is closer to the street. Homeland security is here. Toward the beginning of the protest I saw LAPD on a gold cart-like vehicle driving by the crowd filming participants."

He adds, "Funniest chant so far: 'Bring me the head of Donny Osmond!'"

Here is a live shot I just took off the ABC website in L.A. Watch Live now. It's approximately 5:15pm there as I post this.

Liveshot

L.A. journalis t Karen Ocamb sent in the following shots:

Ocamb1
Signs.

Ocamb2 Ocamb3
A 23-year-old protestor, people blocking traffic.

Gay Mormons protesting:
Ocamb4

Jim Key of the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center wrote in to me as well. He sends these additional photos and says:

Marchingupstreet"Despite the fact that the event was on a weekday, in the middle of the day, and in Westwood, there were 2,000-3,000 people there. In front of the temple we had a news conference, at which Lorri Jean announced the launch of www.InvalidateProp8.org and denounced the leaders of the Mormon Church for helping to raise more than $15 million to fund the deceitful ad campaign that helped Prop 8 pass by a small majority. Jorge Valencia, a former Mormon and ED of the Point Foundation spoke passionately, as did Rev. Neil Thomas, also a former Mormon. Then we marched all the way around the perimeter of the Temple, on side streets, while many people in the neighborhood cheered us on. After we came full circle, about 1,000 protesters kept marching to Wilshire Blvd. and the Federal building. Naturally, the Temple Gates had been locked and even topped with barb wire. As of 9 p.m. now, many are STILL marching. If there’s any silver lining to this, it’s that our defeat on Prop. 8 may result in a whole new generation of activists. It’s so inspiring to see that so many of the marchers and protesters are young people who have never done something like this before.

Here's the AP report on the march via the SF Chronicle.

Shots from two other readers, AFTER THE JUMP...

Mormon6

Mormon7

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Comments

  1. PROP 8 PROTEST MARCH
    SAN FRANCISCO
    TOMORROW (6 NOV)
    5:30PM
    CIVIC CENTER TO DOLORES PARK

    SPREAD THE WORD
    WE MUST COME OUT IN MASSES

    Posted by: Macca | Nov 6, 2008 8:42:46 PM


  2. I wish someone had the balls to put interracial marriage up for vote. Remind everyone how hurtful intolerance can be.

    Posted by: freddy | Nov 6, 2008 8:44:48 PM


  3. SF PROTEST IS
    FRIDAY NOV. 7TH
    5:30PM
    CIVIC CENTER TO DOLORES PARK

    (*sorry for the typo in the first post)

    Posted by: MACCA | Nov 6, 2008 8:44:55 PM


  4. This needs to happen for the next 2 years.

    People need to know it is UNNACCEPTABLE to vote against equality.

    And, hey, at the very least we'll get some voters who just don't want the added traffic! lol

    But seriously, though, if hell hath no fury like a scorned queen, then we'll win this thing two years from now - if we don't win it before then in the courts.

    Posted by: Ryan | Nov 6, 2008 8:47:38 PM


  5. I am getting super pissed off at the lame tactics of the leadership of 'no on 8' - I donated 10% of my savings, only to see an ineffective campaign that did not do enough to get 51% of the people to vote. After losing - seeing this on TV is ludicrous. What is gathering around the mormon church going to do in terms of legally changing anything? why did they not rally around all the marginal groups earlier? why this thuggery when the job is to convince people by example, not out thug the others.

    with a little planning we could have had a major event with hundreds of thousands of us do simultaneous marches in LA, SF, Sacramento - instead we've got 3000 gays stopping traffic on a Thursday night. Shame of the no on prop 8 for the void in competent leadership!

    Posted by: echovic | Nov 6, 2008 8:49:19 PM


  6. No matter what the leadership may have done to fail us, now is not the time to complain about that.

    Now, with these great actions we have seen today we need to keep that momentum up. THANK YOU to all the LA people for coming out to protest... and thanks in advance to all the SF people... Please keep it up... make as much noise as you can... be visual and be active.

    I wish I could be there on the West Coast with you. You guys are GREAT!!!!

    Posted by: CK | Nov 6, 2008 8:57:55 PM


  7. Why can't we arrange a "major event with hundreds of thousands of us do[ing] simultaneous marches in LA, SF, Sacramento"?
    Let's make it happen! It's not too late!
    I'm pissed off, too! And I don't know who the so-called leaders are, either. But I'm tired of spending the past 2 days at home crying. I'm ready to take it to the streets!

    SF PROTEST TOMORROW
    FRI, NOV. 7, 5:30PM
    CIVIC CENTER TO DOLORES PARK

    Posted by: Macca | Nov 6, 2008 9:10:35 PM


  8. I have to agree with echovic. Just what are these protests supposed to accomplish now? Why weren't they held *before* the election, when they might have helped shut off the flow of money?

    Also, as a recently decamped citizen of West Hollywood, I can tell you we are not making any friends by fucking up rush hour. Even sympathetic straights and other gays might get pissed off about that, and I'm not joking.

    So, we have a protest that doesn't appear to be accomplishing anything, because it is all after the fact, and we're probably pissing people off that are trying to get home, and they will remember this as a stupid stunt because they are probably asking themselves why this is being done now while they sit in their cars waiting during their commutes that were already more than an hour on a good day.

    Where is the strategic thinking?

    Posted by: MIke | Nov 6, 2008 9:11:09 PM


  9. This protest would have been better held outside a black church, IMO.

    In fact, you may see such a protest very soon...

    Posted by: Cassius | Nov 6, 2008 9:13:59 PM


  10. I remember when Act Up used to do things that pissed people off. I was young then & never would have thought gay marriage would occur in my lifetime. Now it's here, a little bit. Even in Europe, legal gay marriage has spread in the past few years, a little bit.

    For this cause, maybe a leader can emerge, a version of Larry Kramer or an author that can articulate the message widely like Randy Shilts did.

    Remember how people were so irate that Reagen wouldn't even mention Aids for awhile? For me, that was a little more than half a lifetime ago. Progress can happen swiftly with a little momentum.

    Act Up made an impression & perhaps it's largely forgotten by today's twink generation, but my point is that something like that could emerge out of this CA backlash.

    But in nowadays, if the economy sinks and jobless rate goes to 8%, this will NOT be the only issue people will be bickering about, or thoughtful about. So i wonder if this flames out or will sustain enough to change/sway voters in 2010 elections.

    Posted by: Daniel | Nov 6, 2008 9:17:59 PM


  11. This brings back lots of memories of Prop. 2 in Colorado. We were all extremely elated at the election of Bill Clinton (1st term) and then gut-punched with the passing of Prop. 2 which prevented cities in Colorado from passing gay rights ordinances and invalidating those already on the books (Denver, Boulder, Aspen and more). The high of highs coupled with the low of lows. Yes, we were outraged and distraught and overwhelmed. What to do? What to do? In the end, we organized and several gay and lesbian lawyers found a way to fight it. The rest of us raised the funds necessary. Eventually it was declared unconstitutional by the Colorado Supreme Court.

    In the years since, many cities have expanded their gay rights protections. Denver's police and fire actively recruit in the community (yes, you heard right). And this week we elected Jared Polis to Congress - the first openly gay candidate in the US to ever be elected to a first term in Congress. Life is good.

    So, have faith. And work hard. No one will give you your rights. You must fight for them -- but fight intelligently.

    Peace. Brothers and Sisters

    Posted by: CowboyDenver | Nov 6, 2008 9:18:03 PM


  12. Does anyone know the email or phone numbers of LDS leaders? I've been searching online without any success. I'd like to let them know exactly how I feel about what they did.

    Posted by: Steve H | Nov 6, 2008 9:21:29 PM


  13. Protest is not thuggery, Echovic. It is a time-honored way of banding together to stand up to the opposition. Since i'm in rural VT, I can't, unfortunately, be out on the streets with my CA brothers and sisters, but I salute them. Protest is a way to channel justifiable anger, but, more importantly, it is a way to call attention to the injustice of Prop 8 (the protests are getting media coverage, which is crucial) so that injustice will not be forgotten by the mainstream. (Think back to the effectiveness of AIDS protests.) We need to keep this momentum going. And protesting hardly excludes educating people in quieter, more personal ways. We must do both, plus use the courts.

    There is blame to go around for why Prop 8 passed. But unless we can move on from finger-pointing and bitterness and continue to fight in every possible way, the opposition will keep winning. Now is no time to retreat politely and quietly into our safety zones.

    Posted by: Ernie | Nov 6, 2008 9:21:36 PM


  14. This sucks. Instead of banning gay marriage, homosexuality ought to be encouraged because it shortens life span by 20-30 years:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9923159

    But it’s not enough. To really control population effectively I suggest we bring back smoking by propagandizing it in schools and colleges as yet another cool and chic lifestyle. But not regular smoking, that only takes 5-7 years out of a kid’s average lifespan. What we need is 4-pack a day heavy smoking. That would take out 20-30 years and be on par with homosexuality.

    Ideally we should promote heavy smoking and homosexuality together thereby yielding a combined 40-60 year life span reduction. Now that’s real population control efficiency.

    Please remember that unless stopped mankind will continue devastating the environment and destroying species after species. It therefore follows that anyone against homosexuality or heavy smoking is anti-earth.

    Robert

    Posted by: Robert | Nov 6, 2008 9:22:09 PM


  15. Too little, too late. Our organization is piss poor and it makes me very sad.

    Posted by: Dan A. | Nov 6, 2008 9:23:08 PM


  16. Here's something to consider - Write the IRS asking to revoke the LDS church's 501c3 status. Because they so actively promoted and funded Prop 8 activities, they violated the terms of their non-profit status. Here's a link with more information on how to do so:
    http://lds501c3.wordpress.com/2008/10/29/how-to-file-an-irs-501c3-complaint/

    Posted by: Matt Blank | Nov 6, 2008 9:26:00 PM


  17. Cassius, please take your race baiting elsewhere, or go stage your own protest.

    Posted by: Ernie | Nov 6, 2008 9:26:19 PM


  18. Did you know the streets in SLC were planned with all those lanes to accommodate the coming of the Lord? Apparently, they anticipate Him coming with quite the posse.

    Posted by: MC_BK | Nov 6, 2008 9:28:33 PM


  19. I agree with Mike, why all this now? I think they should stop acting like a group of rabid queers and start educating people (in a polite and nice way) and debunkyng the lies of the religious right (tax , schools and all this seen in their ads), but it requires time and patience. I am sure before 8 years you will have same-sex marriage in California.
    Sorry for my bad English.

    Posted by: Eduardo | Nov 6, 2008 9:31:43 PM


  20. Robert, you are a fuckwit and a cunt. But not necessarily in that order.

    Posted by: Feral | Nov 6, 2008 9:32:24 PM


  21. Robert: I've heard that ignorance and unnatural obsession with homosexuality significantly shortens life span, kills brain cells, and steals joy from whatever remains of your pathetic time of earth.

    P.S. And the gay people I know have no intention of checking out before we're fabulous old farts.

    Posted by: Ernie | Nov 6, 2008 9:33:22 PM


  22. Why not start with revoking the Mormon's (and the Knights of Columbus too) tax exempt status? http://lds501c3.wordpress.com/

    http://www.mormonsstoleourrights.com/


    Next, boycott anything owned by Prop H8 supporters on this list here: http://www.davodd.com/2008/wall-of-shame-my-neighbors-who-support-hate-of-gay-familes and here: http://www.californiansagainsthate.com/dishonorRoll.html

    Posted by: Wheezy | Nov 6, 2008 9:36:09 PM


  23. I think a coordinated protest in multiple cities would have been better also... but I completely understand and appreciate the anger and contempt for the Mormon Church. They preach freedom of religion - as long as it is THEIR religion.

    The Mormon's have hidden behind the cloak of religion - now it is time they are exposed for what they are - a corporation which uses their tax exempt status to influence elections.

    Posted by: Mike | Nov 6, 2008 9:40:37 PM


  24. It is certainly exciting to see people upset and acting out. And perhaps it does draw attention from the complacent straights who we must convince to push our movement forward. However, I too am frustrated by our lack of national leadership. Who exactly set "marriage" as the priority? Why have we been spending millions of dollars trying to overturn state marriage laws and defeat public referendums that pass overwhelmingly, when we could be using that money to pass non-discrimination laws and other reforms that will have an immediate impact on every LGBT individual?

    There will be gay marriage some day ~ and all we have to do is wait for another 10% of the 65+ crowd to die. Morbid, but it's true....

    Posted by: Mikey | Nov 6, 2008 9:44:06 PM


  25. To my CA brothers and sisters: GO!!! Tear down the walls of inequity!

    Posted by: bozemanmt | Nov 6, 2008 9:48:48 PM


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