Despite Obnoxious Protesters, OC Gay Marriage Rally Inspires Crowd

IMG_0535-ChristopherVictorio.jpg
Photo by Christopher Victorio
Rich Cook leads Men Alive at gay marriage rally
While famed conductor Rich Cook directed his singing group Men Alive in the harmonious, sweet sounds of "Marry Us," an overly-tanned and hairy, fat, middle-aged bald man wearing shorts and a tank top held a handmade poster ("No parking in rear any time; Penal Code: Lev 18:22") and screamed into a bullhorn:

--"You will not turn Orange County into Rainbow County!"
--"Get with the program, Sodomites!"
--"Idiots! Why won't you accept me for who I am? You aren't supposed to hate!"
--"Homos have no class!"
--"You have empty slogans. You pedophiles!"
--"The only thing you think about is your sex life! What's next? Somebody can marry a dog? Somebody can marry a goldfish? Somebody can marry a kid?"
--"Shame on you, you have no tolerance for God!"
--"Perverts!"

But the crowd that had gathered tonight in Santa Ana to protest today's Supreme Court decision upholding the legality of the anti-gay marriage Prop. 8 largely ignored the agitator and several of his equally obnoxious pals, one of whom clutched a Bible as he triumphantly barked various scriptural lines. If local gay marriage advocates were angry this morning, their mood was determined and upbeat by the time as many as 500 gathered at the Old Red Courthouse at 6 p.m. tonight. It helped that three brave political figures showed up to offer support: Santa Ana City Councilwoman Michele Martinez, ex-state senator Joe Dunn and ex-Huntington Beach Mayor Debbie Cook.

"If we can't win in the courts, we will win in the hearts and minds of our neighbors," said Chapman University professor Katherine Darmer, one of the speakers. "We will not stop until [equal marriage rights] are won!"

A spirited, diverse crowd (including activists Mitch Goldstone, Andrew Davey, Jeff LeTourneau, Misha Houser and Chris Prevatt) cheered.

After the crowd marched several blocks from the Old Courthouse to Plaza of the Flags, Reverend Dr. Paul Tellstrom of Irvine mocked the protestors who did not follow.

"Now, the opposition couldn't be here because they are on their way to Red Lobster to protest Leviticus's admonition against shellfish."

The crowd roared with laughter.

"No civil rights movement has ever lost," Tellstrom continued. "But we are going to have to fight like hell. We can't stand by and let groups inside and outside of California finance bigotry. All truths undergo three stages: First, there's ridicule. Then there's violent opposition and then [the truth] is finally accepted as self evident. We're in the second stage. If America is ever going to stand on its promise, it must protect the rights of all of its citizens."

More cheers. With police motorcycle escorts, the crowd then marched around the Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse. Their slogans could be heard for blocks, causing four teenage Mexican American teenage girls to come out of a Fourth Street shop. One asked me the reason for the protest. I told them it was a pro-gay marriage rally.

"Oh, that's cool," one of the girls said. "Everybody should be treated fairly." 

--R. Scott Moxley / OC Weekly

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