What a great morning in front of the Senate! Before the "GAY PARENTS NEED ACCESS TO MARRIAGE" shower curtain was completely unfurled, I was once again surrounded by high school students. They were very polite, explaining that they were at the Capitol for school and would it be ok if they asked some questions about what I was doing there. I was only too happy to explain as they took notes. Then they asked if they could have their picture taken with me. It was an honor. As they left, wearing their Capitol Dome paper crowns, they expressed support and gratitude for my efforts. Great kids.
A short while later another girl shyly approached saying she had missed my presentation earlier and could she hear it. I obliged. She said if she didn't have to be in school, she would be right there with me. I invited her to join me whenever she got the chance, that I would be right here and I have extra signs. She asked if I had any more of the "Marriage Equality" stickers, I was wearing. I gave her one and then other kids started coming out of the woodwork for stickers. Luckily I had enough to give one to each. Later, just before the session began, I looked into the Senate chamber and up into the Senate gallery and there were these kids wearing Marriage Equality stickers on their chests, facing all the senators.
A lone student crept slowly up the treacherous Senate stairs while trying to get to the right angle to be able to read the entire shower curtain, then came over to me, wrinkle-faced, and asked if I was "for or against gay marriage." I said, "oh my god, I 'd hoped it was self explanatory." She laughed and said, "I'm a gay parent." I thought, Ok, this is going to be interesting. As it turns out, she's bisexual and pregnant. We talked about her school and she just stayed there for some time until she had to rejoin her group.
Openly Republican Senator Paul Koering was not monopolized by lobbyists today so I was able to speak a little bit with him outside the Senate chamber. I thanked him for co-sponsoring the Municipal Domestic Partner Benefits bill which pleased him, but he responded that he was getting a lot of flack back home because of it. "No doubt," I said. It seems to me he's got a pretty tough row to hoe, being ya know, "that way", and Republican and being from a rural area. Yikes! He must be a pretty courageous guy. It's gotta be a struggle to carry out your official duties as a senator in a way that is fair to yourself as a gay person while facing that constituency.
Labels: Capitol, gay marriage, Koering, minnesota, protest