COLUMBIA — Working quickly on short notice, local activists organized a protest to join the nationwide demonstration for gay marriage rights Nov. 15, attracting about 150 people to the sidewalk in front of the Capitol.
Signs reading “No H8″ and “Fight H8″ referred to the passage of Proposition 8 in California, which ended legally recognized same-sex marriages in that state.
“Nobody expected Proposition 8 to pass,” said Beth Sherouse, volunteer coordinator for SC Equality and board member of Sean’s Last Wish. “We look to California as a liberal, progressive state,” added Santi Thompson, vice president of the SC Pride Movement.
The 2008 election results were even more jarring to the activists than South Carolina’s own ban of same-sex marriage in 2006. “We elected the first black president and took people’s rights away at the same time,” said Laura Schneider, president of the Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian and Straight Alliance at the University of South Carolina.