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Prop. 8: For gays, watching Supreme Court with anxiety and hope

March 26, 2013|By Marisa Gerber

As Christopher Jones drove back to his office at the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center from a morning meeting, he tuned into National Public Radio. The communications manager didn't want to miss any updates on the Prop 8 arguments. 

Back in the office, about 11 a.m., he sat down behind three computer screens. On one screen, he scrolled through his email to check for media requests and other updates, and on the other two screens he eyed the American Foundation for Equal Rights' website to check for morning updates about the arguments.

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He rested his chin on his hand as he watched the lesbian couple challenging Proposition 8 speak to reporters at a Washington, D.C., news conference Tuesday morning.  After Kris Perry and Sandy Stier spoke, the couple's twin boys walked up behind the lectern and shared a few words of support.

"Oh great," Jones said. "That's so very, very important."

A few minutes later, Jones noticed that the audio of the Supreme Court arguments had been posted online and he screamed across the hallway at his colleague Manny Sanchez. "Do you want to listen to these oral arguments?" Jones asked. Sanchez smiled and nodded and the duo headed to Kimiko Martinez's office for a listening session.

As Martinez, associate director of marketing and communications at the center, listened in she also managed the center's Facebook page. 

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By noon, less than an hour after a picture of a wedding cake decorated with two figurines of men dressed in tuxes, a rainbow flag and a California state flag was posted to the center's Facebook page, it had already been shared dozens of times and had been liked more than 200 times. 

"It's getting lots of buzz," Martinez said, smiling.

Meanwhile, the audio played in the background. As technical questions about fiduciary responsibilities and legal standing bounced out of the laptop's speakers, Jones shook his head.

"There's that feeling that you're in a room and people are talking about you, but not talking to you," Jones said. "It's like, give me a break, and let them get married already."

Sanchez said he doesn't expect the Supreme Court to make a sweeping decision on gay marriage, but rather to rule that the supporters of Prop 8 don't have legal standing. "We win, either way," he said.

Martinez, however, was holding out hope for a broader ruling: "Who knows, maybe they'll do something amazing?"

A few minutes later, Charles J. Cooper, whose clients include citizens who voted for California’s 2008 Proposition 8 banning same-sex marriage, described the decision before the justices as an “agonizingly difficult issue.” 

Martinez swiveled her chair away from her screen and shook her head: "I don't think it's that difficult."

She returned to manning the center's social media for a few minutes, until something else caught her attention: a discussion of whether same-sex couples' inability to reproduce is an issue. "It seems absurd that that's an argument," she said. 

The main consensus in the meeting: it's hard to know what to decipher from listening to the justices' questions.

"It's too bad there's no visual," Martinez said. "I want to see the people and their facial expressions."


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