August 19, 2010: The situation in the county clerk’s office. Of the four people sitting down, Zakiya Khabir is at far left and Sean Bohac at far right.
August 19, 2010: A phalanx of riot gear-clad sheriff’s deputies gives the S.A.M.E. protesters an order to disperse.
August 19, 2010: Sean Bohac is taken into custody.
(Photos of August 19, 2010 courtesy of San Diego Alliance for Marriage Equality.)
SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Alliance for Marriage Equality (S.A.M.E.) is presenting the “Equality Nine Victory Celebration” Friday, September 21, 7 to 9 p.m., at the Bamboo Lounge, 1475 University Avenue in Hillcrest. The event will feature a program celebrating LGBT activism past, present and future; a repeat of the popular “Radical Queer Bingo” game played at the Pride party hosted by S.A.M.E. and Canvass for a Cause July 21; a social mixer and a chance to relax and have fun.
The event will be a combination program, party and celebration of the recent decision by the San Diego city attorney to drop charges against six of the nine marriage equality protesters who had been arrested at the San Diego County Administrative Center August 19. 2010, when couples who had appointments to get married today were barred from the county clerk’s office and a squad of sheriff’s deputies in riot gear were called to clear them from the hallway.
Nine people were arrested that day and three agreed to plea bargains, but the six who stood up for their rights throughout the process — Michael Anderson, Brian Baumgardner, Sean Bohac, Zakiya Khabir, Chuck Stemke and Cecile Veillard — had legal charges hanging over their heads for over two years until city attorney Jan Goldsmith moved with the court to drop the charges on August 24. A previous attempt to bring the six defendants to trial in April ended embarrassingly for the city attorney when the judge caught the prosecution systematically excluding LGBT people from the jury in violation of California law.
The “Past, Present and Future” program will consist of:
Past: Leo Laurence and Pat Brown of the Committee on Homosexual Freedom (CHF), founded in San Francisco in early 1969 — before the Stonewall Inn riots in New York City commonly believed to be the start of the LGBT rights movement — and the first U.S. group to organize a picket against a private employer for discriminating against LGBT people.
Present: Members of the Equality Nine and their attorneys will talk about the case, and an attorney will brief the crowd about the ongoing litigation challenging the constitutionality of Proposition 8, the ban on marriage equality narrowly approved by California voters in November 2008.
Future: People at the event will have a chance to speak openly and freely about the next direction S.A.M.E. should take for marriage equality and other battlegrounds in the ongoing campaign to secure complete freedom and equality for LGBT people and build coalitions with other victims of discrimination and oppression in the U.S.
Admission to the “Equality Nine Victory Celebration” will be free. A free-will offering will be solicited, and attendees are encouraged to buy food or drink to support the venue.
S.A.M.E. is an open, democratically run organization committed to fighting for Queer rights including marriage equality. It meets the second and fourth Thursday of every month, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., at the San Diego LGBT Pride offices, 3620 30th Street in North Park.