Father Tony

An amazing protest at the Mormon Temple in Manhattan

Filed By Father Tony | November 13, 2008 1:00 AM | comments

Filed in: The Movement
Tags: Eric Leven, gay marriage, gay protests, marriage equality, Matt Foreman, Mormon, New York, NYC, protest march, same-sex marriage

Thousands upon thousands they came, descending upon my ordinarily sedate Lincoln Square neighborhood of Manhattan's Upper West Side. They were gay, straight, young old, male, female, black, white, local, foreign and everything in between and beyond. They were gorgeous. (If you couldn't find yourself a husband or a wife in this crowd, you need to, well, I'm just sayin'.)

They convened at the silent and locked down Mormon Temple and they marched down Broadway, over to Central Park West and down to Columbus Circle.

After the jump you'll find my video and a link to my photos.

I bumped into Bilerico's Matt Foreman who was totally stunned by the size of the crowd and remarked that we were looking at the future, and that while gay advocacy groups did a lot of hand wringing and fretting about what to do next, this thing was generated from the ground up, and virally.

I bumped into Bilerico's Eric Leven who wondered what the old Act Up could have achieved if they had had the power of the internet.

Although at times they raised their voices, this immense crowd never became an angry mob. No one stepped out of line. This crowd had the conviction of truth in its faces and I came away convinced that we will win this war. Most of the men and women in this crowd have never known a time without HIV. Have never known a time when organizational intimidation was acceptable. Have always taken for granted their ability to pull the plug on even the largest of oppressors.

There were no speeches. Not one speech. No politicians or celebrities on platforms. Just a crowd of people calling for justice, and taking over the lead where our leaders, both of state and church, have failed.

(In the video, don't miss the "two vaginas" sign at about 4:00 minutes in. Also, at about 5:40 into it, you will see Andy Towle of the blog Towleroad whipping up the crowd at the head of the march.)

iPhone users: Click to watch

The photos include pics of Matt and Eric.

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Yes, that's totally awesome, but are these people going to stay involved past one day? I think that's the real challenge and probably deserves quite a bit of hand wringing.

I think the crowd was electrified, but not in the old-school way (or maybe I am just older). I was weaving through the crowd remembering the March on Washington in 1993. There were many tearful moments during that weekend, but last night was different. A much more serious and clear-eyed conviction about justice that is within our reach if we push for change. In the "old-school" days, just seeing the queer community assembled and visible was thrilling. We are used to that by now, but what was really amazing was the diversity of the last night's crowd. Many straight people attended. People who simply want to get the monkey of religion off the back of our government. People who know right from wrong, and are not afraid to tell a large church that it is dead wrong, that its actions are unacceptable and that there will be consequences.

Everyone ought to go to one of the concurrent Saturday events at town halls all over the country. Look at the faces of the crowd and try to tell me we won't win this. In adversity, we are closer than ever to justice.

We feel your pain California
The truth is we'll never leave you
All through your wild days
That mad existence
We’ll keep our promise
For mass resistance

Great pics!

What was it Abbie Hoffman said about how demonstrations need to be planned meticulously and executed organically?

Folks all over are getting the second part down, particularly about representing thoroughly internalized revolutionary values like nonviolence.

And there's an organic strategy that's emerging too. We'll be demanding that thoroughly credible people come forward in the various allied communities of interest. The demos aren't turning people off, and they're demonstrating resolve and that the communities can be trusted not to quit.

I think the important things are there.

The pain, anger, and sense of betrayal over the passage of Proposition 8 is similar to that which the T community experienced in 2007 when we were excluded from ENDA. I hope others see the parallel of the situation.

Please......give the ENDA crap a rest. In case it escaped your notice, ENDA failed to pass for anyone and was gutted beyond all recognition on other factors as well.....

The supreme irony is those who scream the loudest about trans and ENDA are the exact same folks who constantly and consistently attack post-trans women so their hands are hardly clean. You refuse us the simple right to our own identity separate from yours even when all the science supports our position.

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | November 13, 2008 11:58 AM

give the ENDA crap a rest.

Cathryn, with language like that, is it any wonder we don't drop the issue? How would you like it if I said, "Please, give the marriage crap a rest"? Or, "Please, give the feminist crap a rest"?

The struggle for LGBT civil rights is multifaceted, and demands that we respect one another and try to understand where we’re all coming from.

i'll have the one in yellow on the right side of your screen at 4:13 - 4:15, thank you.

OMG I wish I could have been there.

Photo's of Thousands of New Yorker's Against Proposition 8 gathered at The Manhattan New York Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints at 125 Columbus Ave at 65th Street. to Speak out against the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints for their active role in passing California's Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment that overturns the state Supreme Court decision in May that legalized same-sex unions. The LDS Church contributed more than $20 million to ensure passage of Prop 8, while Church leaders voiced vicious propaganda from the pulpit. Prop 8 passed narrowly with 52% of the vote.
The next event will be at City Hall New York City on Saturday Nov. 15th at 1:30pm for more info. contact impactnyc@gmail.com
To view photo's go to;

Wait till MILK is released on the world Nov. 26, adding more adrenalin and motivation to the mix.
Many LGBT's will come out of the closet.

beachcomberT | November 13, 2008 9:58 AM

Nice NYC street party, but we'll need hundreds more rallies like this in big cities and small towns over the next year before Congress and state legislatures start paying attention. In the short run, the Mormons are probably enjoying their martyrdom trip. Other groups need to be targeted too, including both Republican and Democratic party officials. And maybe the White House, where stronger words of support from Obama might have made a difference.

Actually, Beachcomber, it was rather serious and focused. Not so much a party, and because it was not held in a gay neighborhood, the crowd didn't sojourn to the bars. Many were dressed in workplace garb and had postponed their daily commute home. This crowd meant business.



How nice to have the conviction of truth!!!!

Wish I could have been in NYC last night!!!

This was on CNN last night and it made me cry. I'm really happy to see people in the streets. I just wish that people would take a more respectful tone. The photo that Michael posted in his story showed 2 people mocking the Mormon Church for beliefs that have nothing to do with gay marriage. I understand the anger. But I don't see how mocking someone's religion is a way of taking the high road on this one.

As for me, I'm protesting on Saturday, like a lot of other people across the nation. I'll be wearing my rainbow feather boa and holding a sign that says, "I'm Pro-Love." Keith Olberman's video really inspired that one. ;^)

Well this is nice and cute and all but will get us no where.The big 3 religions have 4 rights of passage being Baptized joining the church getting married and finaly death.So we must convince them that what we want has nothing to do with marraige in the church.Which we have always to date failed miserably at.So stop blaming others and blame our own damn selfs and get on with it so lets get on with a Hate crimes bill and a ENDA bill then we may have some teeth in the law to get marrige as well.Then again all non religous unions are just civil unions so lets us the freaking term and make sure it has teeth! There is just one Temple in the Morman church and its in Salt Lake City all others are just churches.Learn about those you wish to hate on then maybe you can see beyound your own bigoted nose.

Cathy, that's not exactly true. The Mormon Church has temples all over the world, in addition to their regular church buildings. In fact, under the leadership of Gordan B. Hinckley, the President who died in April, the church more than doubled the number of temples is has. There are now over 100 temples, with more in line to be constructed.

Marla R. Stevens Marla R. Stevens | November 13, 2008 4:52 PM

Actually, according to the Las Vegas temple's website, there are 125 -- and they caution that the temple is not a parish church equivalent -- that those are the stake whatsits that there are gobs of in numbers many times that of the temples. In fact, they don't typically open the temples on Sunday when their people are supposed to be in "church" -- or so they say.

Cathy, I get the feeling you want us to know just how special you are.

Marla R. Stevens Marla R. Stevens | November 13, 2008 4:57 PM

Civilly married already and not interested in sloppy seconds, sorry. Didn't like segregated schools, buses, movie houses, and bathrooms, either.

I was there too! I actually posted about the event as well... let's compare notes! I was the one on the fountain.

You commented on how non-angry-mob-ish the crowd was. And I'd have to agree... only I, frankly, would have liked to see a little more spunk from my fellow queers. The march was great, though a bit subdued. At times it felt like more of a photo-op than a real march. But then again... what do I know? :)

I stand corrected on the temple part of my comments not being Morman I didnt know they had finaly gone ahead and added more temples. Father Tony I am a rank nobody not any one special.If you have seen my varous postings here you know im a semi regular poster and my views on issues are all over the map.But I am not afrarid to say what is being danced around ie calling Civil marragie what it is Civil Unions and if this make me special then so be it.
Politics is a contact sport with no rules and welcome to the big leagues kids.

Glad to see people supporting civil rights! It is about time! The Mormon Church should have it Tax Exempt status taken away! Any Tax Exempt company that can not stay out of politics should have the tax exempt status removed! Why would I believe that even suggesting incremental steps to get those civil rights to marriage would be wrong right now?
That is what was said to the Trans community from Barney Frank and the gay community! Wait and that incremental steps have to be taken! Shari K. Your statement should be listened to! It is exactly how I feel!

Brynn Craffey Thank You! You understand!

WE NEED TO WORK TOGETHER! (sorry for yelling!) Lets get the civil rights of marriage in a state to follow the non-discrimination, non-religious part of the laws are they are written! (

For full disclosure- I am a Reverend, and I must sign a Sate Issued Marriage License before a couple are legally Married. The State is involved in all " Legal" marriages! I would be breaking the Law otherwise! I personally would wed Gay or Lesbian couples if i could! The Domestic Partner or Union is also State involved but it does not convey the same rights as Marriage.

To me it is the states breaking the Federal and in most cases their own state Civil Rights laws! The Separate but not Equal has been shot down so many times there should be no questions that the laws as they exist are wrong!

What about gay or gay-friendly churches who also encouraged their congregations to get involved and/or donate money to the cause to fight proposition 8? Based on your comments, I would guess that you also think those churches should have their tax-exempt status revoked. That is, after all, the exact same thing the LDS church did. If not, why the double standard?

I think the word "hate" is being thrown around far too much -- it's very inflammatory and not truly accurate. It completely erases civility. Is it possible for someone to disagree, philosophically, on how marriage should be defined, and still have love for gay brothers and sisters? Why does disagreement have to equal "hate"? I'm seeing a disturbing trend in the gay community, in which diversity of opinion and philosophical disagreement are absolutely not allowed, and anyone who disagrees with the party line is full of hate. If you want to change the world, you need to change minds, and screaming at people who disagree with you and accusing them of being hateful is completely anti-productive. (For the record, I would have voted "no" on Prop. 8, but I can still understand why people might be in favor of it, without accusing them of being bad or hateful people.)

Hate isn't really being thrown about too much. One can disagree about the definition of marriage, but when you try to define your definition through legislation, thus taking away the rights of free citizens, then one needs to question your motivations. We live in a secular society (see the Treaty of Tripoli), not a Christian nation. Keeping the society secular is what maintains your religious freedom. The only way to resolve this issue is to take the word "marriage" out of the government completely. Let each person and religion decide for themselves what word means and marry whomever they want. Let the state only recognize civil unions for all and take no stand on the definition. This maintains your religious freedom, keeps schools from indoctrinating your kids with state definitions, protects your tax exemption as a religion, and maintains equal protection and treatment under the law. The state needs to get out of the marriage business once and for all.

It's always an awesome thing to see a large group of people congregate and fight for the same thing. It was a good event.