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. Continue reading Attended the Maine LD 1020 public hearing in Augusta