It was cold, wet and breezy on the corner of 5th and Portland in downtown Minneapolis yesterday with cars and trains blowing by, but the interaction with the public was more invigorating than the weather. The first response we got immediately after unfurling the latest shower curtain was a honk and a thumbs up from a man in a car waiting for the red light. There were similarly positive gestures from the people packed into the passing southbound light rail trains and several motorists shouted support from their windows as they sped by. Some pedestrians that came out of the Star Tribune said, "Good question" as they passed. Employees? One motorist yelled, "I'm glad they do." So, we know he can read.
We got into a few discussions about free speech with people and our position basically was: The Star Tribune is a private business and has the right to publish whatever they want. And, we have a right to stand on the public sidewalk, holding up a shower curtain that questions their judgement and intentions. Simple.
I did make the point with one person that if Kersten came to the publisher with a column opposing interracial marriage, the column would be tossed out along with Kersten. But, publishing columns that degrade gays and their families seems to be perfectly acceptable to the Star Tribune. Remember this is not the editorial page we're talking about, it's the news section. And really, if providing readers with a diversity of views is the paper's excuse for Kersten, then why don't they hire a Nazi to right about Jews, a Klansman to right about blacks, a Communist to cover business, an Atheist to cover the religion beat, etc. They dump on gays because it's easy, we don't make enough noise, which is why we wanted to show up on their doorstep.
The nice man in the picture with his arm around me was not part of the demonstration. He was just an enthusiastic supporter of free speech that stopped to chat and have his picture taken.