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Prop. 8 decision met with frustration, support


SAN FRANCISCO ? Hope turned to grief and then protest for North Coast same-sex couples Tuesday when the decision upholding Proposition 8 landed like ?a kick in the gut,? said Karen Smith, a Sonoma County occupational therapist.

Smith, who married her partner Kirsten Dumford last July, remains married today after the court upheld the estimated 18,000 same-sex marriages made between June and November of last year. But that was no salve for Smith, who alternately gripped her stomach and wiped away tears in the moments after the decision was announced.

?Coming into this, we allowed ourselves to be a little more optimistic,? she said. ?But I guess it?s still OK to discriminate against gays. Shame on you justices for not standing up for justice. Isn?t that the justices? job??

Justice is just what was delivered, said supporters of Proposition 8, who said it would have been a travesty for the court to overturn the 2008 vote of Californians, the second since 2000 in support of traditional marriage.

Proposition 8 supporter Vladimir Musoricvhi, a 26-year-old student at American River College in Sacramento, said he was ?embarrassed? by the court?s decision last year to allow same-sex marriages.

Tuesday, he said, was different:

?Today, they respected society?s opinion. I?m very pleased,? Musoricvhi said, as he shared space with those opposed to Proposition 8 at San Francisco?s Civic Center.

Kenneth Starr, dean of the Pepperdine University School of Law and the lawyer who argued the case in favor of Proposition 8, said the ruling ?represents a ringing judicial affirmation of the right of the people of California to amend the state Constitution at the ballot box.?

The decision on the validity of Proposition 8 was not formally announced to the several hundred people representing both sides of the debate gathered outside the courthouse.

Instead, word trickled out through the reports of journalists and lawyers who stood in line beginning as early as 8 a.m. for a copy of the decision. It was released at 10 a.m. to near silence, quickly punctuated by tears, swearing and shouting from a Guerneville couple, Joe and Frank Capley-Alfano.

Their ?shame on you,? chant was picked quickly up by same-sex supporters.

The couple was among about 100 people arrested by San Francisco police after they linked arms with other gay-marriage supporters and blocked a busy intersection outside San Francisco City Hall at 10:30 a.m.

?We are disgusted that bigotry has been written into the California Constitution. We will not stop fighting bigotry and hate no matter what it takes,? Joe Capley-Alfano said before being led away to the Bryant Street jail, where he was cited.

Frank Capley-Alfano said the protest and marches Tuesday were the start of a renewed civil rights movement.

?It?s time to escalate our tactics,? he said, adding that they have taken a ?vow of nonviolence.?

MacArthur Lundeen, 32, of Santa Rosa also was among those arrested. A straight man, he said he wanted to show his support of gay marriage and protest the ruling.

?It?s important for each of us to take the stand for others? rights. We need to look out for each other,? he said.

Protesters were cited for obstructing traffic, an infraction, and failing to obey a police officer, a misdemeanor, according to the citations.

The protest was one of many demonstrations throughout the day, including an evening gathering that attracted between 150 and 200 people to downtown Santa Rosa.

Among those was Colleen Madison of Santa Rosa, who described herself as a divorced Christian mother of five, including an 18-year-old son who is gay. Her son, Jordan, had called her after reading news of the decision on his phone.

?I found myself in tears over it,? she said, juggling a crying two-year-old. ?The state is telling my son he?s not OK. I?m shocked. I told him ?Son, we have a fight on our hands.?

Jordan Madison said he had gotten word of the Proposition 8 decision via text message while in his history class at Mesa High School. ?I had to leave the room. I was so upset to suddenly feel like a second-class citizen,? he said.

He stood in a group with people waving signs, ?Love is Great Overturn Prop 8,? ?Marriage Matters to us,? and ?We all deserve the freedom to marry.?

?From here, I?ll do whatever it takes. I?ll go door-to-door if it will help.? Madison said.

Staff writer Rayne Wolfe contributed to this report. Staff Writer Laura Norton can be reached at 521-5220 and laura.norton@pressdemocrat.com.