May 17th, 2004
I drove in to Cambridge with gizmoek, frozencapybara and rhysara to stand outside City Hall and irritate the fundies protesting the legalisation of gay marriage. We met up with sauergeek, bouncingleaf, lizzielizzie, jehanna and jagheterlelle and had a grand time teasing the fundies and cheering on the couples getting wed.
The Cambridge cops were great: they kept the fundies carefully confined to their own protest space, so there wasn't any physical confrontation. And just to make sure there wasn't any physical confrontation, the cops marched past the fundies' space in full intimidating riot-trooper formation. It seemed a bit weird to enjoy that sight so much, but it was an excellent encouragement for everyone (on both sides) to behave, and I was glad to have them there: we made a point of thanking them for their work.
Of the various fundie signs, my favourites (and our reactions) were:
I don't know whether the infamous Fred Phelps himself made it to the protest: we certainly didn't see or hear any particular organisation on the fundie side of the street. They just stood there with their hateful signs until about 12:15am, at which point the cops escorted them quietly away. It was entertaining to see how few there really were: it turned out that most of the people standing on their side of the street (across Mass Ave from City Hall) were actually pro-gay-marriage folks who just couldn't fit on the crowded City Hall lawn.
- FAGS ARE LAWLESS ("Uh, no, actually, as of 12:01am they're not, y'see.")
- FAGS DOOM NATIONS ("Which ones? Are we talking Upper Volta, Liechtenstein, what? And how come straight people don't get to doom nations? I wanna doom nations! Hey, if I hold sauergeek's hand, can I at least doom a small township?")
- GOD BLEW UP THE SPACE SHUTTLE and THANK GOD FOR SEPTEMBER 11TH ("...and this being the case, we want this putative divinity on our side why again? Frankly, I feel a lot better about the GOD HATES FAGS and GOD HATES FAG ENABLERS signs now.")
It was enormously fun being part of that big, happy crowd and seeing the couples come out. Especially... so many of them were grey-haired older men and women, and I wondered how long they'd been waiting for the chance to express their love in this way. Some of them just looked happy; some looked teary and overcome; and one woman looked quite amusingly startled at the cheering reception she and her partner got. Oh, and one lesbian couple threw their bouquet, and gizmoek caught it. (No comment. *ahem*.)
Drove back home feeling a little high and (for once) really pleased with people in general and proud of Massachusetts for doing this. It won't really feel like history until I read about it in tomorrow's paper, but it was still satisfying to be there.
Now I'm all teary...
Grr, I wish I were there. But it sounds like (and looks like from the pictures) that there was a huge supporting crowd, which is great.
I like the thought that yesterday I could have married Cammy and now I could marry Kimmy.
It was such a great time! I was pleasantly surprised by the lack of loud protesting, and also by how many straight couples (several with their children) were there with positive signs. My favourite sign (paraphrased because the message was so long):
We are straight, married, and pro gay marriage. This makes our world a bit more like a place we want our daughter to grow up.
Yes! That's part of why I think this is so incredible. I know some of my straight friends get it, but I don't know how many supportive straight folk in general grasp this: it isn't just about same sex couples getting hitched now, it isn't just about queer folk who might someday want to get hitched. It's also about everyone's children growing up in a world where that's possible - maybe even, someday, completely mundane.