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Prop. 8: West Hollywood leader feels 'slugged ... in the stomach'

May 26, 2009 |  1:05 pm

West Hollywood officials vowed to continue the fight for same-sex marriage despite today’s California Supreme Court decision.

About 100 staff members and community leaders packed into the lobby of City Hall to listen to the mayor and several council members express their extreme disappointment in the ruling.

“I’ve just been told that I have less equal rights than my colleagues,” said Councilman John Duran, who is gay. “Our right to freedom and equality is not up for a vote.”

His voice wracked with emotion, Duran said he had expected Proposition 8 to be upheld, but that the reality of it still made him angry.

“It felt as if somebody slugged me in the stomach,” he said.

Several gay couples watched the press conference, among them Mark Katz, 58, and Robert Goodman, 48. The two were married last summer and have a 7-year-old adopted son. Although their union continues to be legal, the couple said today was “tragic.”

“This is as if we were freed slaves living in a slave state,” Goodman, a career counselor, said. “We were able to keep our marriage, but none of our brothers will be able to marry.”

A march in protest of the decision is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. tonight, starting at the corner of Santa Monica and San Vicente boulevards. A rally will then commence at Hollywood and Highland at 9:30 p.m.

Mayor Abbe Land, who married 30 couples last summer, said she hopes the event will be peaceful and that it will send the message that West Hollywood does not accept the Supreme Court ruling.

-- Esmeralda Bermudez