Prop. 8 protesters march on SF streets


The protestors crowded Market Street at the height of rush hour Friday evening and zigzagged back to San Francisco City Hall for a closing vigil at the very place where California's same-sex marriage debate began more than four years ago. Some of the demonstrators also moved into the Castro District last Friday night.

The night was certainly peaceful, but there were several thousand people on the streets of San Francisco protesting Proposition 8, the ban on same-sex marriage.

Late Friday the crowd had dwindled down to several dozen people who parked in the middle of 18th Street and Castro in San Francisco. It has been another big day in the gay rights movement in California.

It has been a windy road for the group of protesters who found themselves in the middle of a Castro District street. No one knew what to expect Friday evening, with a loosely planned match down Market Street, through the heart of the Castro, to a rally in Delores Park with a passionate message on Prop 8.

"You can't give us right and then take them away. Never," said Howard Long, a protester.

The marchers then left police playing catch up, marching back to city hall and back to the Castro again.

"What do we want? Equality. When do we want it? Now," the crowd chanted.

While some ended up dropping off, it's clear the fight continues long after Tuesday's "Yes on 8" vote.

"I was proud to be an American electing Barack Obama. I was ashamed to be a Californian," said Dan Karasic, a protester.

"This is the first time the voters have voted to take away people's civil rights. This is a really dangerous proposition," said Luke Cole, a protester.

The group was not violent, but it was blocking traffic in the middle of Friday rush hour. Police officers walked alongside the group with riot gear in hand, in case things got out of control. Drivers had to wait for the marchers to pass, including some who cast the vote that these people are against.

"I see their pain and I'm so sorry. It's America and we vote on things and we didn't run a negative campaign hurting people. We were explaining our side of the story," said Cathleen Gillies, a "Yes on 8" supporter.

"We don't want any violence," said David Vidaurre, a protest organizer. "We got the word out on Facebook and then it spread like wildfire. We got a little too comfortable when we got the right earlier this year. We didn't think that we would have to fight for it anymore, but now that we got it taken away from us, we're all rallied up again."

ABC7 has spoken with several San Francisco Police officers who said they were rolling with the punches and doing their best to protect the protesters. The protest on Friday night remained incident free.

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