I got up early in the morning yesterday (4:40 AM) to get on a bus to go to Augusta to a public hearing on Maine’s proposed Law for “An Act To End Discrimination in Civil Marriage and Affirm Religious Freedom” (aka the ever so scary “Gay Marriage”) LD 1020. Through e-mails from EqualityMaine I learned supporters of the bill were encourage to wear red, so the night before i went to pick out my clothes and chose a big red shirt that belonged to my late-stepfather Gilbert W. Hart. My mother had given me this at xmas and since Gil was an outspoken and passionate advocate for many issues, especially gay rights. I figured he’d like to have that shirt there and be present at the event 🙂
It was really pretty incredible, the event was held at the Augusta Civic Center, which got close to full (one newspaper estimated around 4000), and a majority of the people, like 70%+ were wearing red. Later in the day I think it was closer to 90%. Seeing the ‘Sea of Red’ in the room was amazing in itself, let alone the standing ovations. The testimony was moving and amazing, at least from the supporters. Supporters all spoke about hope, love, life and tangible examples of how civil unions are not the same. I remember one woman yelled into the microphone ‘Separate but equal is NOT EQUAL!’
The opponents had sad tired arguments based on fear, the bible, the ‘defense of marriage’ from being ‘taken over’ by the ‘gay agenda’. “it’s not a slippery slope we’re on the edge of a cliff!’ yelled one person, trying to make it seem like our entire planet would collapse into chaos if gay people could be legally married in Maine. Wow.. so goes the planet, eh? Their statements, often prefaced with ‘I don’t hate gay people .. but … ‘ or ‘I’m not a bigot but… ‘ (if you ever find yourself prefacing your comments with such statements, perhaps you should re-think the comments?) were filled with small definitions of family, parenting and marriage, I almost feel sorry for them if they weren’t so annoying and, often contrary to their preface, bigoted.
I don’t know how the law will do but the hearing was a big win for ‘our side’ and Gil’s shirt was part of it 🙂
Video from the event is available here : http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/1417871 .
It starts with a speech by State Senator Dennis Damon, our representative actually, that’s pretty great in itself.
I’m sure there will be edits of this to focus on other highlights.
I posted a bunch of stuff, including quotes and short thoughts on twitter yesterday, you can see them http://twitter.com/mattbaya . (actually I am going to post all my ‘tweets’ at the bottom of this post. You’ll need to read from the bottom up to get them in order though)
On twitter if you put a keyword with a # in front of it it lets people follow that topic, so the topic from yesterday was #marryME . You can see all of them at http://search.twitter.com/search?q=%23marryME . This is also a good search to keep following for updated info
I took some photos too (of the ‘sea of red’) I’ll try to post up at some point once I get to download them.
- MaineCampus.Com – Provided live video streaming of the event yesterday. Video archives should be up soon. – http://media.www.mainecampus.com/media/storage/paper322/news/2009/04/23/News/State.Debates.Gay.Marriage-3723216.shtml – See also http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/1417871
- DailyKos – Snarky and humorous summary of yesterdays event – http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2009/4/23/723299/-Cheers-and-Jeers:-Thursday
- Text of Dennis Damon (the bill’s author)’s speech – http://thephoenix.com/BLOGS/abouttown/archive/2009/04/22/sen-dennis-damon-s-testimony-marryme.aspx
- WERU’s Voices by Amy Browne – You can hear the above speech and other audio on a small excerpt from WERU at http://archives.weru.org/specials/weru-special-ld1020-42209
- MPBN Coverage – http://www.mpbn.net/News/MaineNews/tabid/181/ctl/ViewItem/mid/1858/ItemId/10213/Default.aspx
- Text of testimony from Hannah Pingree, state Attorney General, and others – http://www.turnmaineblue.com/diary/2714/prepared-testimony-at-ld-1020-hearing-of-spkr-pingree-ag-mills
- EqualityMaine.org roundup of news – http://equalitymaine.org/the-media/news-roundup-maine-marriage-bill-coverage (some duplicates below)
- Kennebec Journal Poll – Vote in Support! http://kennebecjournal.mainetoday.com/
- Portland Press Herald coverage – http://pressherald.mainetoday.com/story.php?id=252500&ac=PHnws
- Bangor Daily News coverage – http://www.bangordailynews.com/detail/104392.html
A collection of my tweets and a few facebook entries from yesterday (read from the bottom up)
- #marryME Great summary on DailyKos : http://tinyurl.com/dzp5mg
- http://kennebecjournal.mainetoday.com has a poll to vote whether you support or oppose LD 1020. Vote Support!
- #marryME Spoke with @TheMaineCampus folks who did streaming. They said video & audio will be posted later tomorrow. Everyone go thank them
- (From Facebook) I attended this hearing (Maine Equal Marriage bill hearing, LD 1020) today without being sure why besides just being present to support. Had no idea how amazing this testimony would be. I’ve been twittering all day and following #marryme on twitter (go check!). This room is filled with a large majority of supporters, all wearing red. The whole day has been a big ‘win’ for the supporters in my opinion.
- #marryME Jim Bishop & partner “With liberty and justice for all, that’s what America is all about that’s why we want you to support LD 1020”
- #marryME Dan Lourie of Bar Harbor ‘To think that any marriage, heterosexual or homosexual, is a threat to my marriage is ludicrous’!
- #marryME Judging by wearing of red, room seems to be 90% supporters now.
- #marryME Supporters = Logic, passion, science, history, love, and hope . Opponents – fear, select bible quotes, anger, small definitions.
- #marryME @PortlandPhoenix crowd is thinning out. Probably 1/2 what it was earlier. Some might just be dinner breaks.
- RT @PortlandPhoenix: What family circumstance would be a kid’s first choice? The one with the most love. #marryME
- #marryME I wasn’t sure why I was coming here today besides just to show support. I had no idea how moving this would be. Amazing. So glad
- #marryME Peter Rees of Trenton, ME – Retired psychologist speaking on experiences with helping LGBT students deal with inequality and bias
- #marryME I note that Ms. Watt, HS teacher, did her (great) speech in exactly 3 minutes.
- RT @PortlandPhoenix: Observation: Opps: God, Bible, religion. Supps: Rights, love, security. #marryME
- #marryME Lou Alessio of Greene. Passionate personal stories on how the lack of legal status has affected him. Well spoken, beautiful, moving
- #marryME HS student from Auburn speaking on behalf of his gay, lesbian & transgendered friends standing with him. Well written & logical.
- #marryME Opponent who wore red today ‘Sorry I didn’t get the memo on clothing colors’ 🙂 But then off to counterfeit currency argument. weak
- #marryME “Which ones mommy? Which ones daddy” More care and defense of children by saying we should avoid giving them something to ask about
- #marryME “I am here to speak for god, god cannot speak for himself” Ah it’s the Lorax argument! “I speak for the trees”! Wish it was rhymed
- #marryME Scott ? says Canada is pushing for polygamy. I love it when people spout facts without any sources. Opinion doesn’t equal fact.
- #marryME Dorothy of Newport. “I didn’t stand in line to talk about hate” but later “if you want the wrath of god then go ahead and pass it”
- The Phoenix http://ff.im/-2i6uDabout 22 hours ago from FriendFeed
- #marryME “Where will this stop?” Fear about polygamy and marriage to animals. Supporters all standing and turning their backs to hate & fear
- #marryME “You cant call a bicycle a boat and still expect it to float”. Impeccable rhyming logic. If Dr. Seuss was speaking in opposition
- #marryME Yet more justifying ‘some of my best friends are gay’. Ah there’s the problem, Silly gays, be less accepting, you’re enabling them!
- #marryME and now back to fear and anger filled narrow and weak arguments…
- #marryME Herbert Hoffman, giving examples of Bill of rights amendments ‘They didn’t get it right the first time’. Nice use of repeated theme
- #marryME Mark McCullough of Portland Chamber of Commerce – “as an employer we ARE harmed by a state that does not treat everyone equally”
- #marryME “separate is not equal!”
- #marryME Shenna Bellows, Maine Civil Liberties Union, Summarized the detailed packet of legal info she is presenting to the legislature. Wow
- #marryME “many examples of where the legislature has stepped up to reform marriage laws, even long standing ones” – Maine Women’s Lobby
- back in the civic center, kids room is closed down. Back in the press area. Here until 6 (though may get food at some point)
- Back online. Listening from kids room that I’m watching for a while. Begged the holiday inn for key to their wifi. 🙂
- I’m off to help watch the kids area in the ground round for 2 hours 🙁 Back at 3 PM
- RT @jjdactyl: #MarryME I’m enjoying the science on our side, and the scaredy-cat god-fearing on the opposition side.
- @timkaru Room is 70%+ in support of the bill, judging by the wearing of red. It’s a sea of red. So yes, way more applause 4 support #marryME
- #marryME Dr. Summers from Maine Chapter of American Pediatrics speaking in support of bill. Well spoken, logical, fact filled and awesome.
- #marryME Wow first poem in testimony comes from opposition. Where’s the gay creativity and artistic prowess? I expect a ‘fabulous’ response
- #marryME “This bill is silent” um-that’s the point, you can still refuse same sex couples at your bigotted church! It’s.About.The.State!
- #marryME apparently the audio stream is failing, even to local patches here in press area. Overwhelmed perhaps?
- #marryME Speaker now is equating Maine becoming a liberal state with job loss. Yeah.. that’s why the papermills failed! Damn Liberals!
- #marryME Oh golly someone is speaking on behalf of the Knights of Columbus, now I’m listening! Are the Odd Fellows and the Masons next?
- #marryME Re: Quoting the bible at a state legal hearing? Why? Speak to the issue, we all know you know how to read (selectively)
- @DharmaDuck I’m actually in the press area with someone else from WERU. Powerstrip here, great view & I feel like my tweets are important 🙂
- #marryME I’m biased on this issue but this discussion is hate vs love. One side is talking fear & anger, the other is hope & love. Choose.
- If you have to preface your statements with “I don’t hate but”, “I’m not a bigot but” maybe you should re-think your comments #marryme
- Matthew thinks if you have a clear minority in a room then perhaps doing standing ovations isn’t a wise move.
- One hour in and the first hate, fear and phobia speakers are spewing idiocy. Sad little definitions of family, parenting and marriage.
- standing ovation for Senator Dennis Damon by 70%+ of the room
- (from Facebook) is thinking, from a star trek perspective having all the pro marriage equality folks wearing red shirts is a little defeatist. But I’ll tell you, this is a very red room right now ! 🙂
- In the Augusta Civic center bracing to hear many hours of Public testimony, apparently alternating between love & hate. Glad I’m with love
- In the Hancock county bus on the way to Augusta. 5:20 AM (using wifi near Dunkin Donuts)