Prop. 8 opponents hold vigil in Fresno




ImageImageThe Fresno Bee KURT HEGRE / THE FRESNO BEE

Opponents of Proposition 8 hold a vigil Wednesday in front of the Fresno County Clerk’s Office. Similar vigils were held throughout the state on the eve of arguments about the proposition’s constitutionality before the California Supreme Court.

More than 100 people gathered outside the Fresno County Clerk’s Office on Wednesday night for a vigil called in opposition to Proposition 8, the initiative passed in November that bans same-sex marriage.

Similar vigils were held throughout the state, including one in Visalia, on the eve of oral arguments in the California Supreme Court as to the constitutionality of the measure.

"No matter what the Supreme Court decides, we have no intention of giving up … our right to marry," said Ellis Vance of the Central California Alliance.

Vance was married to his partner of 42 years at the clerk’s office on June 17, the first day same-sex marriages were conducted in Fresno.

Also present at the vigil was Robin McGehee, a lesbian mother who said she was forced out as president of a parent-teacher group at St. Helen’s Catholic School because she spoke out against the measure. Her son Sebastian now attends McCardle Elementary.

"Whether you agree or disagree with gay marriage … I shouldn’t be denied a right that’s given my neighbor," she said.

Opponents remain steadfast in opposition.

"I’m hoping the justices uphold the decision voters made last November," Christopher Tasy of Sanger said in a telephone interview. "For the Supreme Court to undermine 5,000 years of social and historical precedent is anathema for those of us who hold marriage to be sacred."

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