PALM SPRINGS – Thomas and Robert Van Ettan are approaching their 1 year anniversary after being together over 40 years. They were involved in the case brought before the State Supreme Court regarding the legality of Proposition 8. They were hoping to celebrate their anniversary with a different decision.
“My heart went into my stomach … I had an overwhelming sense of sadness and then I got very …,” says Thomas Van Ettan.
Their frustration lead them to the rally near the Palm Springs City Hall. Hundreds gathered to show they haven’t lost faith in marriage equality. The rally last lasted an hour with people standing in the sprinklers to participate, showing nothing would dampen their hopes.
“We took a hit this morning when the supreme court upheld Proposition 8,” Cathedral City councilman Paul Marchand told the crowd of over 200 people.
The court’s decision to uphold the voter approved ban on gay marriage came as little surprise to many. But it didn’t ease the pain any.
“Just because you know what’s gonna happen, doesn’t make it less disappointing,” says Bob Thomas of the Coachella Valley Marriage Equality Coalition, a pro-gay marriage group.
While the court temporarily closed the door on any future same-sex weddings, gay marriages performed before the ban are still legal. No consolation to those fighting so other gay couples can have that right.
“It sends mixed signals. I mean we’re grateful that our marriages are recognized but we want this for everybody not just the 18,000 that got in under the window,” says Van Ettan.
Organizers collected signatures to get an initiative on the 2010 or 2012 ballot overturning Proposition 8. Stacy Eder and Daria Lightner missed there opportunity to marry last summer. They’re confident gatherings like the Palm Springs rally will help drum up support for a future initiative legalizing gay marriage.
“The last time it was on the ballot it progressed a few more percentages in our favor. So hopefully it stands to reason that one more year we’ll have a couple more percentages which is what we need,” says Lightner.
Organizers will meet in Fresno this Saturday to decide which election to put the ballot initiative on.