In Fresno, Advocates on Both Sides of Prop 8 Mark Occasion

Jun 27, 2013

Yesterday, Central California residents reacted to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to not rule on Proposition 8, California’s voter-approved bad on gay marriage. Valley Public Radio's Rebecca Plevin reports that advocates on both sides of the issue gathered in Fresno to mark the occasion.


Reese Ramirez wore a rainbow, beauty pageant-style sash across his chest that reads “Mr. Trans Fresno 2013.” He explained that the Supreme Court’s recent ruling on Proposition 8 is uplifting.

“I think it gives me hope that one day, whether I decide to marry a male or a female, regardless of my birth sex is or what my ID says, that I can marry who I want and I can have a productive life, and legally have the same rights as everybody else,” said Ramirez, who was born a woman, but lives as a man.

On Wednesday afternoon, Ramirez joined more than 200 people at a rally celebrating gay marriage on the lawn in front of Fresno City Hall. Gay couples shared their stories, and gay marriage advocates, like Lilly Murray, shared in the celebration.

“I truly believe that stripping the rights from a minority group by a majority group is wrong,” Murray, a reverend at New Thought Community Church, said during the event. “I’m not afraid to say that.”

As rainbow flags fluttered throughout the hot afternoon, Murray performed a song.

Earlier in the day, about 40 Proposition 8 supporters gathered at the Cornerstone Church in downtown Fresno.  Jim Franklin, the church’s senior pastor, said he’s disappointed that the government is not listening to its people, who voted almost five years ago to ban same-sex marriage.

“In reality, that now is what this question is about,” Franklin said. “It’s not about who’s sleeping with who, it’s about do the people of the State of California have the right to govern themselves?”

Many gathered at the church said they will continue to defend traditional marriage between men and women. But at the Fresno City Hall rally, Leon Velasco said he’s confident that the right to gay marriage is here to stay.

“We don’t think they’ve got enough steam behind them to get it off the ground, because as the Supreme Court already said, it’s discriminative to lessen another section of people, and our constitutional law will not allow that,” Velasco said, as he held the hand of his partner, Randall Stoll.

Same-sex couples can’t yet obtain marriage licenses. State officials say that could take a month or more.