Shower Curtain Chronicles: February 2007

Shower Curtain Chronicles

Latex painted shower curtains make great, cheap, waterproof banners to display at demonstrations, over freeways or anyplace you want to take it to the anti-gay, anti-Constitution fascists. This blog will feature banners I've made over the years, commentary on the outrages du jour, general observations and accounts of the latest actions by our blog troop as we wield the bathroom accessory cum political billboard.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Today At The Capitol

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 Nutless Today

Except for me, of course, and the opposition's foreman whom I shall no longer refer to as the "hobbit." He has a name and it is Keith. I learned that after finally introducing myself the other day. I don't know if he's there to counter my presence or if he has other duties. He doesn't have a sign but I suppose the legislators see him and know what he represents. Same with me really. If I stopped carrying a sign and just stood around, they would know why I was there.
Had an excellent time at the Capitol today. More later...

Nut Show Today?

That is the question. I'm at Dunn Bros on University and 280 an hour before showtime at the Capitol and wondering if there will be an appearance by MFC's sign-waving inbreds today. The Minnesota Fascist Council issued a press release yesterday declaring their intention to stop the municipal domestic partner benefits bill, so, I should think they would be mobilizing the kook brigade for deployment on the treacherous Senate stairs today. If they do, I will have pictures. Stay tuned...

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Minnesota's Fucked Up Priorities

This session the legislature may legalize ticket scalping, and is attempting to legalize the use of pot. I think both of those things are fine, but how do those two things compare to legalizing two men being able to get a marriage contract in terms of their impact on society? Certainly, you can make a reasonable argument that legalized pot and scalping would have a negative impact on society. I've heard the arguments (crime, driving, yada yada) and I don't agree with them, but they're credible. On the other hand, what possible impact, except a positive one, could two men (or women) marrying have on our state.
None of the arguments presented by opponents of gay marriage have come close to making a case for any imaginable negative impact. They have no case. Their "worst" indictment of gay marriage is that it would change things. It WOULD change things. It would end an archaic and irrational system of apartheid and bring happiness and security to thousands of Minnesota families, elevating our state's image around the world...even more than legalized ticket scalping or pot.

Labels: , , ,

Senate Meets Wed. 11:00; House Thur. 10:00

Might have to get out the snowshoes!

Monday, February 26, 2007

At The Capitol Today

On the treacherous Senate stairs today, I had a chance to thank Sen. Linda Higgins for her sponsorship of the bill that would make it possible for municipalities across the state to offer domestic partner benefits to their employees. She was very gracious and seemed cheered at my expression of gratitude. She explained that it was her opponent in the last election who's lawsuit led to the overturning of domestic partner benefits for Minneapolis city employees. This bill is certainly a poetic way of giving Mr. Lilly the raspberries.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

New Sticker and it's FREE FREE FREE!

I designed this sticker that will make its first appearance at the Capitol tomorrow. It's just printed on a shipping label, then I cut it out by hand. A bit tedious, but therapeutic.
If you would like one, email me and I'll send you the file so you can print it out yourself. Actually, if you printed it out on bumper sticker material, you can get at OfficeMax, you could stick them on your car. Hmmm.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

House and Senate Meet Monday

House at 10:00. Senate at 11:00. I'm working on new visuals for the new week.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Protest Featured In "St. Paul Legal Ledger"

In a previous posting I mentioned that a photographer for the St. Paul Legal Ledger, a twice-weekly Capitol and public policy newspaper, had taken my picture with the "GAY PARENTS NEED ACCESS TO MARRIAGE" shower curtain while I was protesting in front of the Senate earlier this month. That photo and a blurb about my activities ran on the main page of the newspaper's website last week. I haven't seen the hard copy so I don't know if it ran there, as well. This kind of coverage helps keep marriage equality on legislators' minds, and I believe this paper is widely read by Capitol dwellers.

Future Farmers At The Capitol

Lots of people at the Capitol today, most of them members of the Future Farmers of America (FFA). The youngsters were wearing purple, uniform jackets that denoted the towns they were from. There were groups of them making their way around the Capitol and one passed by, reading the banner while I was in front of the House. I noticed that two teenage girls in the group, after the group had stalled nearby, were standing arm in arm. I thought at first, that they might be just nervously acting out in reaction to the "gay" banner, but they weren't acting silly or even smiling, and they were well past where I was standing. Later, I saw them again with their group on the Senate side, still arm in arm. Hm. I really hope their story is that they're just a young lesbian couple that feels comfortable being out in the FFA. What a hopeful story that would be. Am I old?

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Senate Meets Thursday, 11:00

There at 10:30. House at 9:30.

This Morning's Star Sighting At The Senate

It was busy at the Senate this morning. There were a lot of female interior decorators standing around handing out some flier....something about safety. They were wearing green stickers, one of which fell on the floor and stuck. A security guard was bent over trying to peel it off until he realized he was taking his life in his hands with all the traffic up there today.
Other lobbyists I haven't seen before were also there, gathering on the treacherous Senate stairs and attracting the attention of security which tries to keep people (protesters at least) from lingering there. Those stairs are treacherous! Anyway they didn't leave after being talked to. I suspect it was simply an obligatory warning on the part of the guard that neither he nor the lobbyists took seriously.
As I was watching the action on the stairs, I saw a familiar face making its way though the lobbyists toward the top of the treacherous Senate stairs. It was Al Franken! He was like two feet away, looking at the floor (those treacherous stairs) and in a hurry but I saw him glance at my sign, "MAKE MY FAMILY LEGAL." I was so surprised by his sudden appearance I couldn't think of anything to say, then was kicking myself after he passed wishing I had at least said hi. A short while later, I saw him leave the Senate office door with his overcoat on led by, I assume, a handler. They seemed to be headed for the elevator, but then they were suddenly back-tracking and coming my way, headed for the treacherous Senate stairs. I guess the elevator must have been too busy. This time I would say something. As he approached, I dropped one side of the banner and stepped forward, extending my hand and saying, "Senator Franken." He took my right hand with his left and growled, "how ya doin' " and was off. I wish I had said something like, "will you advocate for marriage equality when you reach the Senate?" But no. That would be entirely too sane for me to say. Oh well, he got a good look at the sign and my sticker which said, "EQUAL MARRIAGE RIGHTS NOW!" At least he is now aware that people here care enough about marriage equality to be spontaneously showing up at the Capitol to protest for it. He can take that knowledge to the campaign trail and beyond. If he shows up again, I'll try to suppress my neurosis long enough to eek out a statement.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

My Wonderful Husband Of 16 Years

One more note on last evening's House blogging. My husband, Duane, is a real trooper for showing up last night after a full day's work. There are certainly other things he would rather be doing. That goes for both of us. But, this protesting is an energizing endeavor. We felt it last night as legislators and others passed by voicing support. We were even energized by the recently defeated former speaker, Steve Sviggum, as he strutted in front of us, glaring disapprovingly at our signs and shaking his head. A gesture of disapproval from this bigot should be worn as a badge of honor.

By the time we left the Capitol we were both charged up, reminiscent of last year when the two of us were at the Capitol until three o'clock in the morning on the last day of the session, being confronted by boisterous, gay-hating fanatics. We weren't willing to concede any ground to these fascists that were driven by bigotry and bent on destruction, who's ilk, inside the Senate chamber, could have resurrected the anti-gay marriage amendment right up until the time of adjournment, if they chose to do so. Our side was represented outside the gate, appropriately, by two men who love each other.

Last night, the post-protest feast was at Cosetta's...mmm.

Senate Wednesday, House Thursday

The Senate will meet at 11:00 on Wednesday, the House at 10:00 on Thursday.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Monday Evening Session At House

This was the scene as Duane and I left the Capitol this evening after blogging the House into session with familiar messages. There was no special program taking place tonight, just a normal session. Apparently, this oddly scheduled session was intended to accommodate citizens who might not be able to attend a day session but would like to see the House in action. It's a nice idea. I did notice a number of adults with a child or two in tow. They seemed new to their surroundings so, maybe the night session did provide a service.
A group of supportive pages gathered around Duane with some questions about marriage equality. They were just starting their week of service as pages.
There was also a small herd of Cub Scouts moving through the halls, each child wearing a little paper crown in the shape of the Capitol's dome. Too cute.

At The Senate This Morning

Here is Matt displaying the latest minicurtain at the Senate today. It was great having Matt there to share in the fun and observe the goings on. He had an interesting conversation with a lobbyist and later, a well-known senator. I hope Matt comes back soon.
The clergyman who would be leading the unconstitutional religious ritual at the beginning of the Senate floor session today was very nice. He came up to me with his wife and read the shower curtain I was holding ("GAY FAMILIES DESERVE AND DEMAND EQUALITY"), said he was in complete agreement and shook my hand. As he was walking down the treacherous Senate stairs, he called back to me and said, "listen to my prayer, there's something in it for you." Not knowing exactly what he meant, I called back, "how about a plug?" He indicated that a plug for my cause was what he meant. Later, he stopped by to show me his rainbow lapel pin before he went into the Senate chamber and reminded me that he was going to say something positive about marriage equality. Cool. Now if we can just get the senators to start talking about marriage equality. Unfortunately, I'm so used to scooting after the Senate doors close, I forgot to stay and listen.
Once again, a group of young people surrounded me to express support for marriage equality. There were five young men and a young woman that, I'm guessing, were college age. They all shook my hand and encouraged a continued effort. One lamented the lack of civic involvement by his generation, but I told him that support for marriage equality is the strongest among his age demographic, which is a hopeful thing. I thanked them for stopping. They were great.
Still have the House to do at 5:30. Join Duane and me.

No Stake In Marrige Equality???

If you're gay and single and don't think you have a stake in the Marriage Equality struggle, just take a look at what's happening in Nigeria. Their anti-gay marriage law turned into a prohibition on gays meeting, talking, basically existing. And, if you think that that can't happen here, you're wrong. Look at how far-reaching the fascist anti-gay amendment in Wisconsin was - prohibiting the recognition of any semblance of a family unit and making life very difficult for the gay families that have not yet fled.

If you're straight and think you don't have a stake in Marriage Equality, notice that the new target for the anti-gay marriage kooks is YOUR marriage rights. They're pursuing laws to take away your choice to divorce. And, there was a recent ruling by a court in Michigan that allows a LIFE SENTENCE for adultery. That's right, swingers! Your failure to support the rights of others is resulting in YOUR own rights being taken away. That's how it works.

Let me add a favorite Jefferson quote here, "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty." Fuck'n A (my addition).

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Odd House Session Time, Monday, Feb.19

(interior of the Capitol near the Supreme Court)

The Senate meets at 11:00. The House at 6:00 PM! Wierd. The good thing about the late time is that Duane will be able to join me for the House blogging at 5:30. Join us.

And why are they meeting on a holiday?

Friday, February 16, 2007

Yesterday At The Capitol

I had a chance to thank Rep. Jim Davnie for his work on the Domestic Partner Benefits bill he'll be introducing. He was talking to a lobbyist outside the House entrance when he turned to go in. I was able to stop him, shake his hand and thank him before he rushed to make the door. The encounter seemed to take him by surprise. I'm usually standing there holding my sign, staring out into space like the Sphinx. He probably wasn't expecting me to move. Anyway, he was very pleased and returned the gesture saying that my being there is important. Nice man.

There were a lot of school groups going through the Capitol. As I was in front of the Senate holding the "MAKE MY FAMILY LEGAL" sign, a high school group went by reading my sign as they passed. One young man with piercings who was in the middle of the group, smiled at me broadly and said, "excellent."

Later, a group of housing advocates was making their way through the halls. In the front of the line was a stout, older woman with short grey hair who's attention was carefully focused on the floor in front of her as she approached me, making sure she didn't miss the first step at the top of the treacherous Senate stairs. She passed closely in front of the sign and curtly growled, "good work." I loved that.

There was a docent leading an adult group of what I perceived as possibly New Americans. They were coming up the Senate stairs as the docent was loudly describing the Capitol's architecture when I made eye contact with him and we nodded greetings to each other. When he reached the top of the stairs across from where I was standing, he waved the groups attention toward me and proceeded to explain that this is something you can do as a citizen...bring issues to the attention of lawmakers and persuade them of the public's view. I turned to the group and moved my sign back and forth like an animatronic figure at Disneyland. Seemed appropriate.
It was a good day.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Demanding A Marriage License

This was the scene yesterday, Valentine's Day, as Duane and I attempted to apply for a marriage license at the Hennepin County Government Center. Another couple, our friends Matt and Adi did the same. The video ends when I ask to speak with the clerk's supervisor.

The clerk was very professional and civil but tried to get rid of us by sending us to the "big letter C" somewhere. I'm pretty sure different sex couples don't get sent to the "big letter C." I tried to make this point with him later but he didn't want to hear about it and anyway the point of whole thing is that we demanded our rights from the government and that's always the first step toward equality. You live as a free person would live and in the process create that reality.

We didn't see the supervisor but we did leave with applications.

Thanks to Matt for running the camera.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

See You At The Courthouse For Valentine's Day

It's Valentine's Day and that means it's time to demand our equal marriage rights from OUR government. My husband and I, along with another couple, our friends Matt and Adi will be at the Hennepin County Courthouse at 1:30 PM today to demand our constitutional right to a state-issued marriage license. Other couples are welcome to join us.

House And Senate Meet Thursday, Feb. 15

House meets at 10:00 and the Senate at 11:00. That'll save on the parking meter. I like it when they meet back to back like that.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Tuesday's Blogging At The House

Just the House met today. Someone brought three young people over to me from the page program that wanted to chat. One was a supporter of a gay-straight alliance group at her high school that was having to fight in court for equal treatment from the school. I thanked her for doing such important work, that supporting such an organization might be saving the lives of despondent gay teens that might otherwise have nowhere else to turn for support. They explained that they were pages for the week and this was their second day on the job. Then they had their picture taken with me and had to run when the bell sounded for the start of the session. Wow, what nice kids.
Many expressions of support today from passersby. Some were rather lavish. It's a little embarrassing but I like it.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Monday's Capitol Blogging

It was a good day. The Civil Marriage Is A Civil Right And Human Right shower curtain was in use. While I was in front of the Senate this morning, a Republican Senator came up to me and said he doesn't support my position but congratulated me on demonstrating "due diligence" in pursuit of my cause and contributing to democratic process. He said he was glad I was there. I feel good about being there but I often wonder if I'm displaying some deep seated psychological problem that's evident to everyone but me. Naaah.

Got a new one for tomorrow...Make My Family Legal. It's smallish...for a change.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Senate Meets Monday @ 11:00

Ok then.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

House Meets Mon., Feb 12, 12:30/ Tues., Feb.13 Noon

Nothing on the Senate's site yet.

At The Capitol Today

It was fun. While I was in front of the Senate, this group of five high school kids on a field trip to the Capitol abandoned their class and surrounded me, asking me what my position was on the content of my sign. They were very friendly and respectful. I explained the basics of the issue that same-sex couples should have the same access to marriage as different-sex couples. They didn't understand the difference between a church wedding and legal marriage so I was able to explain that someone could have a church wedding but if the state didn't issue them a marriage license, they wouldn't be legally married and that all gay people want is the marriage license. Churches can do whatever they want. There was an "aha" moment. There were four girls and one boy and they were all supportive. One asked if I would be speaking "in there," pointing to the Senate chamber. I laughed and said, "I wish."
All of them shook my hand when they left, said "it was nice to meet you" and some thanked me and wished me good luck. I was so proud to be there with these nice kids.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

At The Senate Today

Just the Senate met today. A nice young man from a publication called "St. Paul Legal Ledger" was taking my picture for his magazine and agreed to take this photo with my camera. Boy, that shower curtain is kind of imposing in that space.

Tomorrow, the House meets at 10:00 and the Senate at 11:00.

Washington Newly Weds MUST Produce

A pro-marriage-equality organization in Washington state is introducing a ballot initiative that will require different-sex couples to produce children within three years of their marriage or have their marriage license revoked. Proponents of preserving privilege always cite procreation as the only legitimate purpose for marriage in their disingenuous attempts to deny legal marriage to gay couples. Well, now they can put up or shut up. Ha Ha fucking Ha.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Senate Meets Wednesday, Feb.7, 11:00 AM

There at 10:30.

Yesterday's Capitol Blogging

Yesterday was the debut of the "GAY PARENTS NEED ACCESS TO MARRIAGE" shower curtain. It's interesting the way some people react after reading a message.
One suited young man walked by while I was in front of the House yesterday. He apparently didn't want anyone to witness his approval of my message as he turned slightly toward me and gave a solid thumbs up, held closely to his chest.
Then there was another man who told me he agreed with my message and then went on to say, "I'm just a lobbyist, like you." I said, "Thanks. I consider myself a protester." There were many other expressions of support.
I had a pretty long conversation with a Representative who stopped to chat. He wanted to tell me that as the session wears on there will be more frequent floor sessions, if I was planning on being there for every session. I think he was just giving me a heads up be aware of the schedule. He wondered if I was retired since I'm able to be there so frequently. Then I went into an unnecessarily long explanation of my circumstances. I also told him that as I get older, I worry more that someday I may find myself in the hospital and my husband won't be able to see me during our last moments. He seemed sympathetic.
There are a lot of Representatives that walk by and without saying anything, give very strong gestures of support. It would be very interesting to see just how far a flat out Marriage Equality bill would go. Some lawmakers have come up and voluntarily expressed an intention to vote for Marriage Equality if it should come to the floor. Of course, it might be strategically risky to try something that far reaching at this point.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Everything Is GO For Noon At The Capitol

Just in case anyone is doing a last minute check. I'm on my way to the Capitol right now. Just having coffee at Dunn Bros. on University on my way to the Senate at 10:30. Anyone is welcome to join me at the Senate as well, but the House is still on for noon. Got a new shower curtain made yesterday and it's ready for its debut.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Senate and House Meet, Monday, Feb. 5

Senate meets at 11:00 AM. I'll be there at 10:30. House meets at 12:30. I'll be there at noon, hopefully with some other people if my weekend "publicity campaign" makes an impression. It is going to be very cold so I don't know though. Ok then.

(House chamber)

Thursday, February 01, 2007

At The Capitol Today, Feb.1

Couldn't make the early House time today but did make the Senate. Used the Civil Marriage Is A Civil Right shower curtain. A young woman I assumed was a staffer came up and said she'd seen me here a few times. I told her I intend to make all the floor sessions. She said she agrees with my cause. She was very giggly. Could have been my furry hat, or she just isn't used to being around fanatics. Oh well.
Fancy Pants Prichard was there today occasionally glancing at me and writing furiously while sitting on his lonely bench. I caught the hobbit peeking at me from behind a pillar again. It's just so silly.