Demonstrators March on California Capitol to Protest Gay Rights Veto
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) _ Thousands of demonstrators, chanting ″Recall Pete″ and ″We won’t go away,″ marched Friday on the state Capitol to protest Gov. Pete Wilson’s veto of a gay rights bill.
The rally was held on ″National Coming Out Day,″ meant to encourage homosexuals to make themselves known in their communities.
″We’ve pledged to this Pete Wilson. We’re going to stand up. We’re going to speak up,″ said the Rev. Frieda Smith of the Sacramento Lesbian and Gay Town Council.
Demonstrators blew whistles, waved placards, blocked traffic, staged a kiss-in and threw eggs, but the protest was mostly peaceful.
A woman was arrested on suspicion of assaulting an officer and three people were arrested after protesters threw dye-filled eggs, paintballs, soda bottles and Christmas ornaments at officers, police said. There were no reports of injuries.
Police said about 4,000 people rallied on the Capitol steps. Rally organizers said there were 10,000 to 12,000 protesters, including many who traveled from Los Angeles and San Francisco.
More than 200 police officers ringed the Capitol. Police helicopters circled overhead.
On Sept. 29, Wilson vetoed a bill that would have outlawed job discrimination based on sexual orientation, saying the measure would unduly burden employers with a flood of litigation. Homosexuals and their supporters have held almost daily protests since the veto.
On Friday, gay rights activists urged protesters to take politcal action against Wilson for what they consider a betrayal.
″The whole goal is to make sure that if Gov. Wilson seeks re-election, he will not be re-elected,″ said San Francisco County Supervisor Roberta Actenberg.
″Perhaps the governor should start looking for some other kind of employment,″ said San Francisco school trustee Tom Ammiano.
Demonstrators wore buttons with pink triangles and T-shirts with a circle and a slash over Wilson’s name. Some men wore dresses, wigs, pancake makeup and mesh stockings.
A giant rainbow flag, a symbol of the gay movement, was draped over the west entrance to the Capitol.
Wilson worked in his office, undisturbed by the protest, said spokesman James Lee.
″Obviously, we’re not going to dignify any of those personal attacks with a response,″ Lee said.
In Los Angeles, actors Dick Sargent and Sheila James Kuehl announced they are homosexuals as part of the coming out day. Sargent, 61, played Darrin Stephens in the television series ″Bewitched″ from 1969-72. Kuehl, 50, played Zelda Gilroy on ″The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis″ from 1959-63.
In another development related to ″National Coming Out Day,″ Berkeley, Calif., began accepting applications Friday under a law that recognizes non- married couples - both homosexual and heterosexual - nationwide. The city pioneered a domestic partners law for city employees.
Couples wishing to register need only to fill out a registration form, sign it under oath and pay a $30 registration fee. Non-residents must register in person. The new law offers people who don’t work for the city domestic partners status but doesn’t guarantee them benefits.