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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Ray of light for gay marriage

    Sara Taylor rests her head on the shoulder of Jamie Furr during a candlelight vigil held as demonstration of solidarity against Proposition 8, which amended the California constitution to only recognize marriages between a man and woman.
    Sara Taylor rests her head on the shoulder of Jamie Furr during a candlelight vigil held as demonstration of solidarity against Proposition 8, which amended the California constitution to only recognize marriages between a man and woman.

    Voters may have enforced Arizona’s anti-gay marriage stance with the passage of Proposition 102 in November, but that hasn’t stopped local gay marriage advocates from voicing their opinion in regards to the still-raging fight over California’s controversial Proposition 8.

    About 35 UA students and Tucsonans attended a candlelight vigil last night at the Church of the Painted Hills, 3295 W Speedway Boulevard, in preparation for the hearings that begin today in California over the proposition banning gay marriage.

    Prop 8, which passed in last November’s general election with 52.3 percent of the vote, is being reviewed today by the California Supreme Court after three separate lawsuits challenged its constitutionality.

    The proposition amended the California constitution to contain the words: “”Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California,”” according to the state’s official voter information guide.

    The candlelight vigil was one of several across the country organized by a San Francisco-based non-profit organization, Marriage Equality USA. Guest speakers and musicians carried out a short but emotionally-charged ceremony before the actual candle lighting.

    “”Even though we’re not in California, we’re in this country,”” said creative writing sophomore Rachelle Colavito. “”If one part of our country is discriminating, it’s a blight on our entire country. It’s a dangerous precedent to set.””

    Although Prop 8 has legal ramifications in Arizona, it could affect Arizona couples who married in California recently, said John Allard, Marriage Equality USA’s Arizona chapter co-leader.

    Gay marriage advocates have faced opposition from groups such as ProtectMarriage.com, a private organization that is one of the primary supporters of Prop 8. The group has run TV ads in California alleging that “”gay domestic partners already have the same legal rights”” as heterosexual married couples, and that “”children will be taught about gay marriage”” in school.

    Students on campus also expressed outrage at the potential outcomes of Prop 8.

    “”As a gay person, I feel like it’s a slap in the face that I can’t get married to someone I love,”” said Sasha Hawman, an environmental science junior and member of the UA’s Pride Alliance.

    Justin Howes, a Spanish and women’s studies junior and co-director of Pride Alliance, said the consequences of California’s decision could stretch far beyond the state’s border.

    “”This is an important issue because of the mere fact that it represents that social inequality still exists,”” Howes said. “”While allowing gay marriage wouldn’t remove all social inequality, it’s still a step.””

    Candles were lit one by one as the ceremony moved outside. As the flames flickered in the breeze, the pastor of the church, Lee Milligan, conducted a non-denominational blessing of a recently-married gay couple whose union, the couple said, now hangs in legal limbo.

    “”Obviously Moses had more on his mind than gay marriage,”” Milligan said.

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