“I don't know any white gay man who sat on the back of the bus.”
So spoke Chauncey Killens, a black Pentecostal minister from Salinas, as he stood on San Francisco's Civic Center mall yesterday. Like hundreds around him, Killens had showed up to demonstrate outside the state Supreme Court, which today heard arguments on the legality of Proposition 8, the ballot initiative that several months ago amended California's constitution to outlaw same-sex marriage.
“It's not a civil-rights issue,” Killens said, smiling broadly as television news reporters began to shove microphones in his face.
In this city, protests over just about anything showcase a lively back and forth from activists on both sides of the issue. But by any standards, the rallies outside the Supreme Court yesterday offered an unusually colorful spectacle: Fundamentalist ministers, liberal ministers, students, married same-sex couples, drag queens, and fire-and-brimstone anti-gay activists all hoisted signs side-by-side beneath a blue winter sky.