Tracie Jones, left, and Valerie Paget walk up State Street on their way through Santa Barbara.
Paul Wellman

Cold rain and burning blisters didn’t stop Valerie Paget and Tracie Jones from continuing their social-justice journey from West Hollywood to San Francisco. On Tuesday, November 25, the two women walked along Cabrillo Boulevard in Santa Barbara, then turned up State Street, wearing signs that drew waves and honks of support.

The Pasadena couple is walking a good length of California to protest Proposition 8, an anti-gay marriage initiative that passed on November 4.

“Our mission is to appeal to the Supreme Court,” said Jones. “They’ve already declared discrimination against one group of people is unconstitutional. We should not allow the Constitution to take away anyone’s civil rights.”

Christian Van Den Heuvel (left) signs the Revoke 8 petition and participates in a "If you could speak directly to the Supreme Court Justices, what would you say?" video interview with Tracie Jones (center) and Valerie Paget (right).
Paul Wellman

The California Supreme Court has agreed to hear the Proposition 8 case; it is scheduled to begin hearings in March 2009. Until the legal outcome is determined, same-gender couples are not allowed to marry.

Paget said that prior to the election, many of her friends believed there was no way Prop. 8 could succeed, that California was beyond bigotry against gays. “On November 5th, there was this uprising of disbelief and anger,” she said. “We are tired, as gay and lesbian individuals and couples, and as a community, of being treated like second-class citizens.”

Wanting to funnel their anger into something positive, the women decided to take time off of work and make the pilgrimage they believe will last 30 or 40 days. Jones said they expect to land in San Francisco around December 20. Along the way, they are collecting signatures to repeal Prop. 8, and they are videotaping statements from supporters that will be presented to the Supreme Court.

Their adventure is chronicled at Next stops: San Luis Obispo, Salinas, and Santa Cruz.


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