Wednesday, May 27, 2009

"Gay, straight, black, white, marriage is a civil right!"

Alex Aguayo was holding on to his boyfriend's arms as he approached Long Beach's Bixby Park. The young college sweethearts listened as Long Beach Equality co-founder Tom Crowe rallied up the hundreds of marchers who showed up to protest the California Supreme Court's validation of Proposition 8 after a march along Broadway Blvd.
Aguayo is a film student at Cerritos College and the president for the school's chapter of the Queer-Straight Alliance.
Marchers from all walks of life (students, mothers, hippies, etc.) proudly held rainbow flags and signs that expressed the sentiments of people that were also marching across the Golden State.

"We want to march already," a man screamed from the parking lot of Long Beach's Hamburger Mary's, where all participants gathered before the march through the popular gayborhood.
"This was the ruling I was expecting," Aguayo said in a near matter-of-fact joke.
This seemed to be the popular belief amongst the attendees and the people who spoke at the park's band shelter.
Long Beach's First District Councilman Robert Garcia, who spoke at the rally, is hopeful that this decision won't be a step back in the fight to grant marriages to gay couples.
"I think that within the next two or three years this will happen," Garcia told me as fans of the guy came up to him to shake his hand or ask if he had a Facebook account. Which of course he does.
The openly Latino, I mean, gay politician, is making history at his own pace in the city of Long Beach. He is the the youngest elected City Councilmember, bringing with him a fresh breath of air to Long Beach politics.
As far as accepting other human beings, this country is a bit far behind.
Towards the end of the event, when people began to make that walk home and empty the park, Crowe mentioned that he and another LB Equality member were gay bashed while scouting the place for the event.
"We were assaulted on our own fucking turf,"Crow said.
The people who assaulted him were later detained.
As we made our way back home, a car passed by and screamed "faggots!"
I asked Aguayo if he thought gay marriage would ever become a reality.
"If I didn't believe in that, I wouldn't be here." Well said.

Photos taken by Valerie Kelly for