Just before 6 o’clock, on October 28th, the Fire Marshal for the City of La Mesa stood outside City Council Chambers. The room was at capacity. No one would be allowed in unless seats became available.
Inside, the La Mesa City Council was preparing to hear a request to endorse or oppose Proposition 8, an amendment to ban same-sex marriage.
Dozens of opponents to Prop 8 stood outside the door, in the narrow, dimly lit hallway and held “No On Prop 8” signs. Others spoke to local television news crews.
A small contingent, less than ten, were there supporting of the ban. They did their best to attract the attention of the media, despite being outnumbered three-to-one.
Off to the side, a television crew interviewed two women and one man behind a sign that read, “Marriage = One Man and One Woman.”
An older man sporting a round “No on Prop 8” sticker on his lapel interrupted the interview. “Why do you even care,” he yelled. “I’ve been married for 45 years and I don’t care, so why should you?”
The interview continued despite the interruption.
When the council meeting began, the crowd gravitated under the rusted speaker affixed to the wall above the door. The speaker appeared as if it was the first of its kind, the volume so low, only fragments of full sentences could be made out from the meeting inside.
The council moved up the agenda item, so that those present didn’t have to wait any longer. Councilmember Ruth Sterling, who earlier in the month had asked to place the issue on the agenda, later removing it, addressed the crowd and the city council.
“It was the wrong thing to do…out of the purview of the city. The issue…and is very divisive…It should be up to the individual to do their own voting on the issue.”
Seconds later, the city council voted unanimously to table the item and not take any further action for or against.
Loud cheers from the crowd outside echoed through the hallway and bounced off the concrete walls.
Even those in favor of the same-sex ban agreed with the council’s decision to table the item.
“It’s up to you and me, not a government entity to decide,” said one man with a large “Yes on 8” sticker on the middle of his T-shirt.
For more on the opposition to Prop 8 go to noonprop8.com. For more on the support go to supportprop8.com.