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Proposition 8 inspired documentary about LGBT activism

Long Beach police officers stand near the intersection of Redondo Avenue and Broadway as Prop 8 protesters march on Broadway on November 8, 2008. Photo: Courtesy of Charlie Gage.

Long Beach police officers stand near the intersection of Redondo Avenue and Broadway as Prop 8 protesters march on Broadway on November 8, 2008. Photo: Courtesy of Charlie Gage.

LONG BEACH – The passage of Proposition 8 was a dark chapter in California history.

More than 52 percent of voters approved the 2008 ballot measure that outlawed same-sex marriage, though a federal court in 2010 ruled it unconstitutional. That decision didn’t go into effect until June 26, 2013, when the US Supreme Court’s ruling left the district court’s intact.

But Proposition 8 also was a catalyst for some members of the LGBT community to become politically active.

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The documentary “Inspired: The Voices Behind Prop 8” tells the story of 21 Los Angeles-area gays and lesbians — including a few from Long Beach — who were politically dormant; however, in the days preceding the November vote and the months following, they were galvanized into activists and community organizers.

“The passage of Proposition 8 was a positive thing in their lives,” director Charlie Gage, 41, an openly gay Long Beach resident, told Out in the 562 in 2011. “Before it was passed, the only way to be a gay activist was to have an HRC (Human Rights Campaign) equality sticker on your car, pay $500 a ticket to attend an Equality California dinner or volunteer at a gay and lesbian center.”

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About the author

Phillip Zonkel

Award-winning journalist Phillip Zonkel spent 17 years at Long Beach's Press-Telegram, where he was the first reporter in the paper's history to have a beat covering the city's vibrant LGBTQ. He also created and ran the popular and innovative LGBTQ news blog, Out in the 562.

He won two awards and received a nomination for his reporting on the local LGBTQ community, including a two-part investigation that exposed anti-gay bullying of local high school students and the school districts' failure to implement state mandated protections for LGBTQ students.

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