Just a few weeks before Leeds Pride 2010, staff and friends of The Viaduct Showbar dragged up and out onto the city’s streets to collect for the Pride event.
Whilst on Briggate, shaking buckets, staff from the shop ‘American Apparel’ came out and presented everyone with t-shirts that had printed on them, ‘Legalize Gay-say no to prop. 8.'
Today, at 5pm the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorders office in Norwalk will be staying open late as the 2008 proposition that said that; "Only marriage between a man and a woman is recognised in California” has been over-turned and now, a week after the judgement, lesbian and gay people are able to go and register their intention to marry.
Judge Vaughn Walker, who over-turned the proposition 8 ruling, said;
“Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in signalling out gay men and lesbians for denial of marriage license. Indeed, the evidence shows that proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the Californian constitution the notion that opposite sex couples are superior to same-sex couples.”
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has applauded Judge Walker’s verdict and common sense approach in deeming proposition 8 unconstitutional. Judge Walker’s words are as inspirational as they are sensible and have surely earned a place in the history books.
James Hart who is one of the staff members at ‘American Apparel’ who produced the t-shirts on ‘drag day’ said; “It is nice that in Leeds, we can still be involved in what is happening throughout the world and to be able to show that we care. Leeds has a fantastic and close-knit gay community and we are very proud to support it.”
This ruling is fantastic but, as ever, there are still some inequalities that remain to be rectified. One example is Julie Foss and her partner Tameka.
Tameka is the singing sensation who blew away the crowds at this year’s Leeds Pride. Julie, who as well as being Tameka’s partner is also her manager, is American born whilst Tameka is from the UK. On the ruling, Julie stated;
"Both Tameka and I were so excited when we heard that Proposition 8 was ruled unconstitutional in the state of California. Being from America I know each state has their own set of laws and we hope this will have a domino effect on the rest of the country. Tameka and I are a bi-national, same sex couple (meaning one partner is from one country and the other partner from another country) and at the moment , even if gay/lesbian marriages are put in place it still does not include gay/lesbian immigration. There is nothing more that I'd want, is to be able to take my British born partner (Tameka) back to America to live or even to be given the choice of living in the UK or living in America would be amazing. I think what's happened in California is a step forward to acceptance."
We are right to celebrate and be proud of the victories but, with each one, we become increasingly aware of how much more there is to challenge, how further we need to stride and how strong we need to stay in order to become equal in society.
But, to all of those who will be standing in-line at the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorders office today, good luck in your future marriages and congratulations!