The Prop. 8 Stop Marriage Discrimination Press Conference drew about 70 people on Monday afternoon in the Sunken Gardens of the Santa Barbara Courthouse. Many elected officials, educators, faith leaders, and leaders of the community spoke out against Proposition 8, which would restrict the right to marry to heterosexual couples.
The rally opened with Congressmember Lois Capps, who spoke very strongly of her opposition to Proposition 8. “I am honored to be standing here : pleased to speak out [against] Prop. 8,” Capps said. “When some face discrimination, we all face discrimination.”
Capps explained how far she felt Californians have come in creating equality for everyone in this nation, and, in her view, passing Proposition 8 would be a huge step backward. She emphasized the need to “embrace and recognize our nation’s diversity.”
Santa Barbara Mayor Marty Blum also spoke against Proposition 8 and explained the extent of the people of Santa Barbara voting against Proposition 8 and providing equality under the law. “We don’t want to see [Prop. 8] back on the ballot again,” Blum states.
As the crowd grew, Linda Phillips of the League of Women Voters spoke of opposition to Prop. 8 and Prop. 22, the California Defense of Marriage Act, which California voters approved in 2000. If Prop. 8 passes, Californians will be “writing discriminating into our state constitution,” Phillips said. “It’s wrong to use the ballot box to change those fundamental freedoms.”
Santa Barbara City Councilmember Das Williams spoke of the work to be done in gaining support for Proposition 8, explaining the many Vote Yes on Prop. 8 rallies going on in Ventura, claiming rights to “religious freedom.” Williams opposed these claims. “Civil marriage has nothing to do with religious freedom,” Williams stated.
Santa Barbara resident Billy Aiden, 26, spoke strongly of his frustration with the fight against Proposition 8, which would allow democracy to bar him from the same rights that everybody else has. “Propositions should be instituted for positive changes,” Aiden said. “Voting yes is voting for discrimination.”