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LGBTQ, Opinion

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It seems that few people attended the Prop 8 rally scheduled for last night at San Vicente and Santa Monica Blvd. Both those attending and those observing reported few people on the scene. Some media planning to stop by didn’t even come after hearing about a mild situation on scene.

The problem may have been a lack of a clear focus for the gathering, and one that tapped into discontent and emotions over the case, or an aspect of it. Further, there did not seem to be widespread calls to the event from various leaders and groups in the community.

Fresh from a victory in the first court to hear a Prop 8 case on the Federal level, there didn’t seem to be much of a reason to be upset. The fact that a window opened that may have allowed couples to wed immediately was icing on the cake. There was probably as much surprise about the window opening at all as there was with its closing.

“Although Judge Walker’s decision was a victory for Prop 8 opponents, the fight is NOT over,” read the call to action on the Facebook event page for the event. “Do not let that victorious feeling make you complacent! Let it be known that we will remain vigilant and active until marriage equality is restored in California!”

On a scale of 1 to 10 for urgency in holding a rally, the day that the community took to the streets after Prop 8 passed was probably a 12. When upheld by the California Supreme Court, maybe a 10. The victory rally on August 8 was probably a solid 8. But Thursday might have merited just a 1 or 2.

And unfortunately, while the intention was to show that Prop 8 opponents were remaining ever vigilant, the event on Thursday could have hurt that image rather than helped. Prop 8 supporters are certainly monitoring the activities of the opponents and have used footage in propaganda videos in the past.

As such, those considering future events and demonstrations may want to take steps to ensure that there will be support for events that require large numbers of people to make a point.

Alternatively, there are other ways to hold events and demonstrations that are less focused on large numbers of people turning out to measure success. Press conferences, speakers, performances and other creative options can also be effective.

While the intentions of those trying to pull the Thursday event together were noble, those planning events in the future may want to have other elements to the strategy than a demonstration of sheer numbers… unless those numbers can be solidly expected.

UPDATE: West Hollywood Patch has coverage of the event and apparently there were some notable figures present who spoke.  They were not mentioned in the Facebook event details and to our knowledge their attendance was not announced in advance of the event.  Instead, the goal of the event seemed clear about the intent of a show of numbers being made to make the point about the community remaining vigilant.  When those numbers did not materialize, some media decided not to cover the event.

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