Students join protests over Prop 8 results

After the passing of Proposition 8 in the state of California, students and teachers reacted with rallies and protests both on campus and around the city. Proposition 8, which passed with a 52.3 percent majority vote, amended the California Constitution, eliminating the right of same-sex couples to marry. This effectively reversed the California Supreme Court’s overturning of the States’ ban on same-sex marriage, which took effect on June 16.

Middle school librarian Susan Kallok, who married during the summer, said she was impressed by the political awareness of students. Kallok marched in a rally in Long Beach on Friday night along with 2,000 other protesters.

“I questioned what the fate of my marriage would be. Would I go to bed married and wake up not?” Kallok said.

“I believe that if this vote happened four years from now, when my current students and my daughters and their friends could vote, we would have a different outcome,” upper school art teacher Cheri Gaulke, who also married this summer, said.

Students on both campuses have taken action since the election. Ryan Lash ’12 protested outside of the Mormon Church on Santa Monica Boulevard on Thursday night, an experience she described as “empowering.”

Gillian Berry ’09 spontaneously joined a protest on Wilshire Boulevard as well.

“I intend to do whatever I can to ensure that everybody is guaranteed equal civil liberties, and nobody’s basic human rights are taken away,” Berry said.

Lash and Ben Platt ’11 both protested by not speaking on Thursday.

“I participated in Day of Silence to make sure that people were aware of the side California had taken on the issue, whether they were for or against [Proposition 8],” Platt said.

Prior to Nov. 4, Gaulke made calls as part of a phone bank to spread the word.

“It was painful and emotionally taxing to talk to strangers about this issue. As a lesbian it means so much to me,” Gaulke said.

Prop 8 seemed to bring about more opinions than other political issues in the classroom.

“I’ve noticed that lots of teachers like to remain at least mildly ambiguous about politics, but with Prop 8 teachers had no problem expressing their feelings,” Eli Petzold ’10 said.

Kallok felt comfort in her freedom to be open about her relationship at school.

“I hope that we can reach a point in our lives when people are accepted for whom they are, not by the color of their skin, who they love or what they believe,” Kallok said.

Gaulke remained optimistic as well: “I believe that justice will eventually prevail and we will win this one.”