It was soooo cold at Lobby Day yesterday in Annapolis, but I’m glad I went. The rally was well-attended, there were said to be about 500 people, although I think it was really a bit fewer. However, it started at 4:30 (I got there at 4:10) and ended around 5:30, and all that time was spent by poor old me in the cold. The very cold. I think it was the coldest day of the winter so far. I sat on the cold brick wall and tried to be enthusiastic. There were a few state legislators there, from the Gay and Lesbian Caucus, speakers from the ACLU and the NAACP, and a very inspiring pastor from the Methodist (I think) Church.
Of course our very own state delegate Ben Barnes was there – he is the lead sponsor of the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act. I really appreciate ‘straight allies’ like Ben Barnes and my friends. They have nothing personally to gain in supporting our cause and if they’re in politics they have arguably something to lose.
There was also a transgendered speaker addressing us; perhaps not the most eloquent person and with the prize of marriage dangling before us, we weren’t as supportive as we could have been, I fear. I can’t imagine what it would be like to be transgendered, but then I would think a straight person can’t imagine what it would be like to be a gay person. Empathy is something I need to develop.
After freezing our way through the rally, which I think Equality Maryland’s Executive Director Dan Furmansky cut short because of the freezing temperatures, we trooped off to our lobby meetings. I live in Maryland’s District 21 and our ten-person group met with Delegate Barnes, Delegate Jocelyn Peña-Malnyk, and Senator Jim Rosapepe, who unlike the rest of our delegation is not only not a co-sponsor of marriage equality, but isn’t even sure if he would vote for it should it come to him for a vote. Mind you, even with that, we had an easier time than those coming to see (for example) anti-gay Senator Janet Greenip (surprise surprise a Republican) from Crofton (she has sponsored a constitutional amendment to ban marriage equality) or Delegate Don Dwyer (yet another Republican from Anne Arundel County) who is also notably hostile to my community.
Del. Barnes had a transgendered lady talk to us and then we spent time first applauding and thanking him for his support, and then trying to convince Sen. Rosapepe to get off the fence.
He seemed intrigued by the benefits which marriage, as opposed to civil unions would confer but some unfortunate comments from one of our group seemed to give the impression we thought the same benefits were guaranteed in other states or by the federal government, in spite of DOMA. I wonder if he will use his ‘discovery’ that this is not the case to justify opposing marriage equality. He also wanted to know if we would accept civil unions if equality looked too hard to get – which may have been a thin end of a wedge. I do feel proud that we are being asked to accept civil unions and not swallow a ban like people in other states have had to, but still – separate but equal always becomes separate but unequal is unwieldy at best (how do you keep it equal if laws are proposed that quietly restrict this or that new procedure or right or responsibility to ‘husband and wife’ and stealthily leave out civil unionists) and a ticket to second class citizenship in any event.
I must remember to write out letters of thanks for our delegates and Senator Rosapepe. I’ll have fewer distractions tonight since a tall truck passed our house and ripped out our TV and internet cable. It won’t be fixed until Wednesday. This happens constantly. I’m getting sick of it and I and C need to make a fuss with the city about it – it’s dangerous and inconvenient and costly. Either the cables need to be higher or the city needs to bad trucks over a certain height from the stretch of street in front of our house. I can’t see why I should put up with this – if anyone ever snags the mains there’ll be a real hazard.And I have to spend primary night without television coverage. I’m still not decided who to go for – Her or Him. I’m leaning Her but I think He has a better chance to beat McCain in a general election. After voting to night C and I’ll go to Panera to check to e-mail and the news. At least some good movies have arrived and there are a lot I’ve not seen that I bought or had give to me. Witness and The Trip stand out.
Now I know there’s not been much eye candy of late, so here’s some political eye candy- my very own delegate Ben Barnes. Trust me – he’s even more handsome in person. Actually he’s not merely eye-candy but a forward-thinking political leader and somebody I’m glad and proud to have represent me in Annapolis. (I had to put that there in case he reads this – have to prove I’m not always trivializing.)
(Added – our cable is still out, and I’m still very busy at work so just when I’m excited about relating my thoughts about marriage equality, Raphael Laus, Ben Barnes and his inspiring life story, and Georgian (the dative case), I can’t for a while. Can you forgive me? With this ice storm, I doubt our cable will be back on tomorrow. Gloom accumulates.)