Saturday, November 15, 2008

Stonewall 2.0 - 25,000 in San Diego

Ah, the numbers game. At the march's start, the Cajun and I figured 2,000 people per block for nine solid blocks: 18,000. Later, the march grew. The city police said 20,000. The organizers said 25,000. A Harbor Police officer told me 30,000. And I heard one San Diego Police Department supervisor tell a subordinate, "50,000." was BIG.
All photos are by me except for #7 and #8, which are by Tony Lindsey. To get any photo full size, just click inside it.
The march, of course, was against Prop 8. The voters passed it Nov. 4. It amended the California Constitution to stop same-sex marriage, which had become legal on June 16, courtesy of the California Supreme Court.
Marches against Prop 8 took place today in 300 cities in 50 states and 8 countries.
Stonewall 2.0 indeed.
The spirit of Barack Obama's victory was ubiquitous.
This is one of Tony's superzoom pics. But there was really no way to capture the enormity of the march without being in a helicopter, which at least one local TV station was.
At the beginning, when the Cajun and I did our estimate, the march stretched nine solid blocks across more than two lanes of 6th Avenue. (This pic above is the one to click on to get a sense of the size of this march. These photos are wider than your computer screen -- newspapers need them big -- so drag the bar to the right to see the right side of the picture. And, of course, there were blocks' more of people behind the crest of that hill. Also, check out this photo on the Web site of The San Diego Union-Tribune.)
The very long march went from the northern end of Balboa Park all the way downtown, then curved back around and went up to the County Administration Center.
I have a sunburn.

This one and the one below are downtown on Broadway.

I shot this from the bed of a truck that served as the stage at the County Administration Center as the marchers began to crowd into the march's endpoint.
Using pieces of colored cardboard, the ralliers followed instructions from the stage to repeatedly create a giant "rainbow flag," to the delight of news photographers and cameramen.

Here's one for the bears.
Here's one for the club boys.
Here's one for the kids.
And here's just one of the thousands of awesome signs created for this 100% grassroots march.

UPDATE: But wait, there's more! Get this: San Diego's march was the largest one in the country. Say what? No, really, it's true. The highest estimate for Los Angeles was 12,000. The highest estimate for San Francisco was 10,000 (the San Francisco Chronicle said 7,500). The New York Times and the Chronicle reported 4,000 in New York City (one blogger said 20,000). Boston had 5,000. Check out this photo at The San Diego Union-Tribune.

Now, let's discuss. What could explain this? Here are some of my theories:

1. San Diego gays are more mainstream-ish than gays in San Francisco and Los Angeles, and they are, therefore, more interested in being able to get married.

2. Republican Mayor Jerry Sanders' outspokenness on same-sex marriage inspires people. His daughter is a lesbian activist.

3. The San Diego Union-Tribune's advance coverage did the trick, actually getting gays out of bed early on a Saturday morning.

4. San Diego is the new pink.

For the record, San Diego is America's 8th-largest city, with a population of 1,266,731. The bigger cities are San Antonio, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Houston, Chicago, Los Angeles and New York.

But it gets more interesting than that. San Diego falls to 17th place when you look at "metropolitan statistical areas," coming in behind the metro areas of Minneapolis, Seattle, Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Phoenix, San Francisco, Detroit, Boston, Atlanta, Washington (DC), Miami, Houston, Philadelphia, Dallas-Fort Worth, Chicago, Los Angeles and New York.

Despite my theories, you still gotta wonder, WTF?

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