Shower Curtain Chronicles: March 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.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Faked Out Again - Senate Changes Saturday Meeting Time To 8:00 AM

Good thing I checked the Senate website before leaving the house. I hope nobody else intended to show up at 9:30.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Senate Meets 10:00 Saturday Morning

There at 9:30. Oh boy.

No Shit. Join The Club.

Yesterday morning saw a lot of early education boosters at the Capitol, a couple of which provided memorable conversations on the Senate stairs.
A woman wearing one of the ubiquitous green t-shirts trudged up the stairs to thank me for being there because her son is gay and has been partnered for ten years. She said her son would love to be protesting and asked if he and his partner would be welcome to join me. YES! they would! I gave her a Marriage Equality sticker which now has the Shower Curtain Chronicles url listed on it and told her session times are announced there and they can come whenever they want. I always have extra signs and stickers with me.
Another, somewhat weary woman with a bag full of photocopied handouts of a United Nations "bill of children's rights"(not sure of exact title) which included things like the right not to be killed, or starved, or used in the military, or enslaved, or sexually abused, and other horrors, came up to talk. She gave me some handouts and told me that this document has been ratified by the entire world except for Sudan...and the United States of America. She told me sometimes she feels she'd be happier living in another country. No shit. Join the club.


Thursday, March 29, 2007

Senate Changes Friday Meeting Time To Noon

The House is off until Monday at 11:30 AM.

One More From Yesterday And Right Now

One more story from yesterday I forgot to include. A group of six or seven young girls about 14 years old and their boy mascot stopped to talk. They were all very nice and the boy, who was painfully shy, said to me, "The Constitution protects equality, not tradition." Wow.
In front of the House this morning two female pages came up, one of which was adamantly pro marriage equality. She said it was the most important issue to her. We had a long discussion before they had to go into the House and start paging. The enthusiastic one made a fist and said when she could, she was coming back to help out. I welcomed her to do so.
Right now, I'm hanging out at the St. Paul Public Library between floor sessions for the first time. It's conveniently close to the Capitol, quiet and has Wifi. It even has a coffee shop.
The Senate session is coming up at noon. Boy is it crowded up there today. Lobbyist, Dave Engstrom wasn't kidding when he told me there'd be seven hundred people at the Capitol today. I've never seen it so crowded!


Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Recall Pawlenty?

The University of Minnesota "boosters" were in the Rotunda today spreading their enthusiasm throughout the Capitol. I had a nice chat with one of the boosters from Morris, MN who happened to be gay. He was admiring my rainbow gear and wanted to know where to get some so I steered him to Rainbow Road.

I thanked Senator, Sandy Pappas on the Senate stairs today for her work on the Domestic Partner Benefits bill. She was gracious and commented, "This is just main stream now," meaning the existence of domestic partner benefits. When I mentioned Pawlenty's veto threat she said, "He'll be vetoing many of our bills." After all their work, and I can that these legislators work hard, the knowledge of these impending vetoes must be a total downer for them. Perhaps a Pawlenty recall campaign is in order.

Tomorrow, Thursday, it's the House at 10:00 and the Senate at Noon.


Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Senate Meets Noon Tomorrow; Nothing On House

On Thursday, the House meets at 10:00; Senate at Noon. I always start a half hour before the meeting time.

Oh, Nurse!

Lots of people at the Capitol today. Nurses and the Joint Religious Legislative Coalition filled the halls. As you can imagine, there was a lot of support expressed for marriage equality. The religionists were not the right wing variety and nurses are nice.

A man came up to me with his family in tow and thanked me for doing what I was doing because his son is gay. He seemed to be choking up. I thanked him for his words. It was the "GAY FAMILIES DESERVE AND DEMAND EQUALITY" shower curtain this morning.

Then there was a group of four curious Muslim girls. They wanted to know about my family and what my religion was. I told them a husband, basset hound, cat and no deities. They were cute.

Duane was able to join me for this evening's session of the House. Not many lobbyists around for the late show so the House foyer was dominated by Marriage Equality.


House Meets At 11:30AM / 6:00PM; Senate, Noon, Tuesday

Monday, March 26, 2007


Republican legislators were trying to soften their hard edged image at the Capitol today by dressing as "Medi-bears." Having been widely criticized for obstructing health care for the poor and refusing to support health care benefits for the spouses of gay state and municipal workers, Republican's feel they've found a fuzzy, cuddly way to gain greater public acceptance of their health care stands without actually spending any money on health care. Costumes are furnished by the Funeral Directors Association.


Saturday, March 24, 2007

Senate Meets Noon; House 12:30, Monday

I'll be there beginning at 11:30. Really glad they didn't go Sunday.

Pound For Freedom

An apparently violent anti-choice organization at the Capitol today, "Pound For Freedom," was praying in the rotunda. A seemingly pleasant young man and woman from the group climbed the stairs to "talk" to me. They asked if they could pray for me and I told them they can do whatever they please, thinking they would then go away and pray, leaving me alone. Then they closed in on me and I said, "I'm really not comfortable with what you're doing. Why don't you just send me good wishes from far away." Then they left. Really glad they didn't pound me.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Today, Friday At The Capitol

No, the flowers aren't quite out at the Capitol yet, but it sure was nice. I got a chance to exchange hellos with the Speaker today. She's usually pretty well surrounded by people conversing with her so this opportunity was rare. Some legislators are not thrilled with her introduction of Saturday floor sessions, but maybe that'll make for a short session this year.
I think it was Wednesday that I greeted the assistant Senate Majority Leader, Tarryl Clark on the stairs. She asked how I was. I told her, "Actually, I'm still being denied my basic civil rights." This resulted in some uncomfortable wordless moments as she tried to communicate something to me with painful smiles over her shoulder while making her escape. Ok then.


Saturday Sessions

House meets at 10:00; Senate meets at noon. I'll be in front of the House at 9:30 and the Senate at 11:30. Maybe I'll have company? I've got the signs, just bring yourself.

Surprise! Friday Floor Sessions

House meets at 11:30; Senate at noon. Good thing I was listening to the radio this morning and heard that the Senate was voting on a gas tax increase today. What? Today? Oh well, at least they're close together.

Same Or Different Gender Life Partner?

Yesterday at the Capitol, I met with Representative Mike Jaros of Duluth to encourage him to follow through on his proposal to change the state's definition of "family" to include domestic partners. Without going into to too much detail, the deadline for policy legislation is today and he wasn't sure if he could get it in. But, there are alternatives. Rep. Phyllis Kahn has been collaborating with Jaros on the project and may be the key to getting it introduced this session. Jaros expressed a desire to find a term to replace "domestic partner" because of all the heat surrounding this term. I suggested the wording should be "same or different gender life partner," which includes unmarried different sex couples who also should be included in the definition of family. He seemed pleased with that. We'll see what happens.
There was an interesting occurrence in front of the Senate yesterday. I had the "GAY FAMILIES DESERVE AND DEMAND EQUALITY" banner and as an elementary school group was passing by me, a little boy about ten years old reads the sign out loud, gives me the thumbs up and barks, "GOOD MESSAGE." And there were other expressions of support from this group, as well. Where do all these great kids come from? It's a hopeful thing. There was a Maranatha Christian Academy bus in front of the Capitol........nah.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Change Up In Meeting Times Tomorrow

House meets at 10:00 AM; Senate at 1:00 PM. Oh great, the parking meters only go up to two hours. : )

My Meeting With Senator Jungbauer

Senator Jungbauer describes himself as a Christian conservative. I found that after speaking with him for about a half hour in his office that that label does not necessarily translate into "closed minded." Our conversation left me with the impression that he is genuinely open minded on marriage equality, not an advocate, but interested in finding a way to provide same sex couples with at least some if not all the rights and responsibilities of marriage without the name. If I'm being deceived, he's very very good at it.
He started out by telling me where he stands on marriage equality. He doesn't think the government should be in the marriage business at all. Then he expressed discomfort over the fact that same sex couples are not being treated fairly and that he wants to find a way to achieve fairness without using the word "marriage." He actually used the term "separate but equal," and added that it can be the path to real equality. As "back of the bus" as I regard this concept, I think it is something of a breakthrough coming from a legislator with Senator Jungbauer's record on gay issues.
I told him that I'm interested in one thing...equality. That means I don't care if the state abolishes all the marriage statutes and NOBODY gets their relationship recognized by the government. If the state revises the marriage statutes to replace the word "marriage" with the words "civil union," and issues only "Civil Union Licenses" to both same and different sex couples, that's ok with me. But, if the word marriage is going to stay, then it has to apply to everyone. Churches will continue to marry whomever they please in any circumstance. I added that, "There are people in our community that would accept civil unions, I'm not one of them."
We touched on the domestic partner benefits bill and education issues. I told him I'm not an expert on either and reminded him that I'm a protester not a lobbyist. He said that's why he wanted to talk to me. His concern with the domestic partner benefits bill was the lax relationship validation requirements. We agreed that official state recognition of same sex couples would remedy that problem and he supported the idea.
I left the Senator's office liking him and feeling that although we're not on the same page, we're not that far apart either.


Senate Meets 11:00; House 11:30 Today

As always, everyone is welcome to come stand with me. I have extra signs. I'm set up a half hour before meeting times.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

You Should Put The Word "Gay" In There

Interesting day at the House. First, the House chaplain, who has been very friendly to me, came up and said he had been thinking about me and had included me in his invocation for today's House session. He moved beside me so I could read the folded piece of paper that opened to reveal two short typewritten paragraphs with some nice-sounding sentiments about inclusion. There was nothing about marriage equality. I scanned it and said (in jest), "I don't see my name anywhere." He then pointed to the language about inclusion and I said, "Oh yeah, there is sort of a vague reference to equality." Then I said, "You should put the word "gay" in there, that'll get their attention." He looked at me rather astoundedly and went into a lengthy explanation as to why he couldn't do that, how it would just upset those that are against us and cause supporters to recoil. I quoted Frederick Douglass - "If there is no struggle, there is no progress."
In a previous post, I reported that the Senate chaplain had told me he was including me, meaning marriage equality, in his invocation...same deal...he didn't. They think they can do something about marriage equality without daring to talk about it. They can't. I'm done toe dancing with these daily expressions of contempt for the Constitution. If they can't say gay, I don't want to hear about it.
I had a lengthy conversation with an electrician who was there for an IBEW (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers) day on the hill. He was very thoughtful and respectful but it was the same old "Do you have to use the word MARRIAGE?" routine. You know the drill.


Wrong Chi

Yesterday at the Capitol an anti-war demonstration, or presentation really, took place in the Rotunda. Pairs of army boots were on display representing our soldiers that have been killed as a result of our illegal and fraudulent invasion of Iraq. Former state Senator, Becky Lourey, who lost a son to the war, spoke at the solemn event. As I looked down on the proceedings from the second floor, I noticed a group of lesbian vets holding a rainbow/American flag. On my way out I stopped to give them stickers and thank them for being there. They were in tears from the emotion-provoking program.

On a lighter note, I'm wondering if the opposition is a little worried about Senator Jungbauer's friendliness toward me. Yesterday, in front of the Senate the opposition guy, Keith, who shadows me wherever I set up at the Capitol, kind of rudely forced himself in front of me and grabbed Senator Jungbauer's hand as he approached me to say hello the way he usually does. Jungbauer had to awkwardly turn his head to say "Hi" as Keith pulled him away. DON'T LISTEN TO THE SIREN SONG OF THAT HOMOSEXUAL!

After setting up in front of the House I realized that the DFL was caucusing and would be approaching from a different direction as they entered the House, so I packed up and moved to another spot. One security guard seemed curious at my move so I told him, "The chi was bad over there." He smiled vacantly.
House meets at 11:30 today.

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Saturday, March 17, 2007

"I Don't Hate YOU...Just What You Are"

I'm sick of media news readers getting away with saying that a public official or a bigoted faction of some church is "opposed to homosexuality." That's the same as saying a racist doesn't hate black people, they're just opposed to black skin. We need to start calling the tv and radio stations when we hear them spewing this bullshit and give them hell. Adopting the bigoted rhetoric of a hate group and passing it off as normal is not objective reporting, it's propaganda.


Friday, March 16, 2007

Thursday At The Capitol

Yesterday in front of the House I had a good conversation with Rep. Mike Jaros, an old friend from Duluth. Mike has been a proponent of gay rights for a long time. He was telling me about some of the extremely homophobic communications he's getting from "clergy" people in Duluth regarding the current gay-friendly legislation being considered in the House and described some of his sarcastic replies to those communications. It seems one "Reverend" got a reply from Mike addressed to the "Irreverent" So and So, who promptly had a shit hemorrhage. Ya gotta love it. Way to go Mike!
Mike also made a proposal to change the state's definition of family to include same-sex domestic partners. He's iterated this proposal before but says the gay community doesn't seem interested in it. I told him to follow his instincts and go for it. I plan to meet with him next week and talk about it.
The Senator who told me that he was rethinking his position on marriage equality and invited me to meet with him, as reported on Monday, is Senator Michael Jungbauer. I have an appointment to meet with him next Wednesday.

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Senate 11:00, House 12:30 Meeting Monday

Found Him!

This is Representative Ken Tschumper of La Crescent and the subject of Wednesday's post. He was identified for me by the Welfare Rights folks who were protesting in front of the House yesterday. Rep. Tschumper was standing near the door to the House Chamber when I recognized him as the man who told me he was ready to support marriage equality, so I asked the Welfare Rights protesters if they knew who he was. They did.
It would be nice if he could receive some acknowledgement and support from the queers in his district, 31b. Incidentally, La Crescent is the "Apple Capitol" of Minnesota and just across the Mississippi from La Crosse, WI. Sounds like a nice place to visit.


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

"The Rest Of The World Is Going That Way So What The Hell"

Computer problems have been slowing me down a bit so I haven't gotten to the best story from yesterday until now. A representative shook my hand while I was in front of the House and after paying some personal compliments on my dedication, said he was changing his thinking on marriage equality. His quote was, "The rest of the world is going that way so, what the hell." Problem is I don't know who he is. I went through the Legislative Directory and identified three or four possibilities. He was middle aged, handsome, 5'10" with big strong hands like a farmer. Maybe he'll stop by again.
Today, there was a large group of kids singing patriotic songs in the Rotunda. They actually sounded pretty good. Not much else to report.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The Guy Was A Ringer

Large group of people in the Rotunda today. They were advocating for special needs adults in group homes.
There were also a lot of school groups winding through the halls. One large high school group was passing by while I was in front of the House. It was a little uncomfortable because they seemed uneasy facing me and then suddenly a small group of girls in the middle of the throng began pumping their fists in the air saying, "Go..Yeah!" It was cute. The docents were using me as an exhibit again.
A middle aged man in a sport coat, who could best be described as a disingenuous asshole approached and asked if he could ask me some questions because he wanted to learn my position. Then he whined, "Can't you use another word besides marriage? Why do you have to use the word marriage?" I said, "Because that's the word the government uses, and to call it something else would MAKE IT something else and we want to be treated equally." And then he went on to say, "But why it all about the money? Where's the love and commitment?" I should point out that this is now a common talking point of the opposition. They try to shame you by trying to make you sound shallow and greedy. Here's how I answered him: "Are you married?" He said, "I used to be." I said, "Did YOU get married for financial reasons or was it love and companionship?" He said, of course, "Love and companionship." I said, "That's why WE get married." YOU FUCKING ASSHOLE!!! The guy was a ringer.
One thing I must remember to bring up in the future when I inevitably face this bullshit again, is to say, "My husband and I traveled to a foreign country to get married, knowing full well that when we returned home our marriage would not be recognized and would be meaningful to us only as a souvenir of our love and commitment to one another. How about you?"
I have more stories from today...later.


House Meets Today...Surprise!

Good thing I checked the House website yesterday. I wasn't expecting to see a Tuesday session but there it was. It's at 11:30.

Tomorrow and Thursday the Senate meets at 11:00. No information on the House yet for those days.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Lawmaking Set To Music

We had live music in the rotunda today. I don't know who the orchestra was but they rocked.

I experienced something of a breakthrough on the steps of the Senate today. A well-known Republican senator came up and explained that he had gotten a persuasive call from a constituent urging him to take a positive role in the marriage equality debate and that he was indeed rethinking his anti-marriage equality position. He invited me to speak with him in his office and I accepted but I didn't have a business card on me. He said he sees me everyday anyway so we'll just make arrangements the next time. I should have made arrangements right there on the spot I suppose, but I was rather flustered. Well, I'm a protester not a lobbyist, obviously.

The Welfare Rights folks were at the Capitol today tending to the several items they have on the line this week. I love it when they're at the Capitol. They're all supportive and fun to talk to, quite expert on the workings of the legislature and are willing to answer my many questions. Several of them wore my Marriage Equality stickers today, as well.

While in front of the House at noon, three young black women came up to talk about my sign. It was the "LET ME MARRY MY PARTNER OF 16 YEARS" shower curtain. Two of the women seemed supportive but the third was asking why we couldn't be married, but call it something else. I explained that "something else" wouldn't be equality. She said that marriage has always been defined as one woman and one man so it should stay that way. I explained that some things are a certain way for decades or centuries and accepted as normal even though they are unjust and wrong. I brought up the 1967, Loving v Virginia, Supreme Court case that overturned laws preventing different race couples from marrying. Those laws were in effect for many decades. Her response was, "There was a law that white people could only marry other white people?" "Yes," I told her, as she fell silent with a scowl. Her two friends asked if they could have a Marriage Equality sticker, which I happily gave. I thanked them all for stopping and talking, then they moved on. I hope she comes around.

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It's Time To Prohibit Hate Speech

The last few days I've been thinking about making a pitch for legislation to prohibit hate speech against gays. This is prompted by some recent events.

First, there is a recent news story from Canada about a Quebec radio personality that has been suspended from his job and is under investigation for violating Canada's hate speech law. Quebec is in the midst of an election campaign and one of the leading candidates for premier is openly gay. The radio personality is in trouble because he said that he didn't think that factory workers would vote for a gay candidate. What?! Compare that to the recent statements by Ann Coulter! The Canadians are wise enough to understand that free speech is an absolute, absolutely nowhere. Speech has always been regulated, so why not use the law to inhibit speech that is designed to diminish and discourage minorities from participating fully in society.

Next, Iowa did it. They now have a law aimed at prohibiting the bullying of gay students. Have no doubt, it will make that state a much better place for everybody to live, especially gay people no matter what age they are. When children learn in school that it is not ok to harass gay people, they will carry that critical learning home with them and into adulthood, making it far less likely that gay people will face harassment on the streets of their neighborhoods in the future.

My husband and I have had many experiences of being harassed by people that are young enough to be our children and even grandchildren. What are people teaching their kids? Obviously, we can't rely on people to prepare their children for life in a diverse world or even to teach them the most basic respect for their fellow human beings. And parents aren't the only ones to blame. Irresponsible religious leaders exploiting the worst in people, politicians doing the same and media people are all contributors.

I think it's time for this debate to begin. The mere debate over this type of law, I believe will have a chilling effect on would be harassers. Most people don't really follow the news very closely. They would hear of the proposed law being discussed and assume it was actually the law. The benefits of such a proposal to gay people would be immediate.


Sunday, March 11, 2007

Senate And House Meet Tomorrow

The Senate will meet at 11:00 Monday, March 12. The House meets at 12:30. I'm guessing there will some sort of rally in the rotunda at noon. Just a guess owing to that 12:30 start time. What group might it be?

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Simon Doesn't Like Snowshoes

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U.S. Supreme Court Said It Best

"Marriage is one of the basic civil rights of man"- U.S. Supreme Court - Loving v Virginia, 1967.

Here's another one:

"The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men". - U.S. Supreme Court - Loving v Virginia, 1967.


Friday, March 09, 2007

Marriage Equality In Minnesota's Future

Duane was able to join me after work, last evening at the Capitol for some blogging of the joint session or joint convention as it is sometimes referred to. He held the "MAKE MY FAMILY LEGAL" minicurtain while I held the "LET ME MARRY MY PARTNER OF 16 YEARS" curtain. It was neat to actually have my partner of 16 years there with me.

Rep. Tina Liebling stopped to greet us before she went into the House Chamber and say that she didn't think anything would be done on "this, (pointing to the shower curtain) this session." I hadn't met her before and didn't realize she was a Rep. until she introduced herself and I recognized her name. I think her comment is very interesting. It says that their doing something on "this," meaning marriage equality, MAY not be in the cards this session, but it suggests that their ultimate intention is to implement marriage equality. Let's all let these legislators know that that is exactly what we want.

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Three Small Steps Toward Equality

Lobbyist for Outfront Minnesota, C. Scott Cooper told me yesterday at the Capitol that there are three bills of interest coming to legislative committees in the next two weeks. There's the Municipal Health Benefits bill that allows cities to offer same-sex partner benefits to their employees. Then there's a Hospital Visitation bill that allows you to designate next of kin for visitation purposes, including your same-sex spouse. I don't know how that works if you're unconscious. And, there is a Domestic Partner Benefits bill for state workers that would allow state workers to designate a same-sex spouse as a dependent on there benefits plan. This would remove the issue of domestic partner benefits from the uncertainty of labor contract negotiations and embed it in statute.
So, sometime in the next couple of weeks would be a good time to contact your elected representatives and let them know you support these measures. A legislative staffer told me yesterday that they are getting a lot of calls in favor of the Municipal Health Benefits bill, already.

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Thursday, March 08, 2007

A Capitol Double Header Today

It was a double header today at the Capitol. The Senate and House had regular floor sessions in the morning and then there was a joint session at 6:00 to elect U of M regents. I was there for it all.

This morning in front of the House I had a chance to talk with Rep. Cy Thao for a little bit. I asked him if he knew which bill Rep. Frank Hornstein had amended to include domestic partners. He thought it was a "teacher insurance" bill.

In a previous conversation I had with Rep. Thao, he said that if a marriage equality bill comes to the floor of the House, "I will vote for it." I say let's give him one! Way to go Rep. Thao!

There was a group advocating for the arts today, so as you can imagine there was a lot of support expressed for the marriage equality message as these folks passed by. In fact, on the Senate side, as two young female arts boosters with piercings and magenta hair passed by on their way to go down the stairs, they stopped and grabbed my arms, thanking me for being there advocating for marriage equality. It was very crowded at the top of the Senate stairs so the people behind them trying to get down the stairs had to wait while these young women were talking to me. The person stalled immediately behind this love fest, having to take it all in was Rep. Mary Liz Holberg, House sponsor of the failed anti-gay marriage amendment in previous sessions.

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Rep. Frank Hornstein Takes Action For Equality

I was introduced to Rep. Frank Hornstein in front of the House this morning by lobbyist, Dave Engstrom. Hornstein thanked me for being at the Capitol every day and told me that he had recently amended an insurance bill to include domestic partners.
A woman with a little boy in front of the House this morning, gave me an approving nod and then asked the little boy, about eight or nine years old, to read the sign. He read it out loud. It was cool.
This reminds me of the time Duane and I hopped a plane to San Francisco on Valentine's Day of 2004 to get married after the mayor had ordered marriage licenses to be issued to same-sex couples there. Doing some sight seeing, we were on the metro train going through the Sunset neighborhood on our way back into downtown after we'd been to the ocean. A woman with about ten little kids got on the train. She was a teacher taking her class to City Hall to observe the historic event of the first same-sex marriages in the country taking place there. Such enlightened people.

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Ducks And Ice Cream At The Capitol

This message had a warm reception at the Capitol today.

Shortly after I got set up in front of the Senate, a middle aged man wearing jeans, a heavy shirt and a hunting cap was making his way alone up the treacherous Senate stairs. He was carrying a real, stuffed Mallard duck, perched on a piece of driftwood. He didn't look like the typical gay marriage supporter, but came right up to me, looked me in the eye, gave me a thumbs up and said, "I totally agree with you." I thanked him and he moved on.

Next, a lobbyist I hadn't seen there before said, "You shouldn't even have to be here," adding that the government has no business messing with our lives.

There was a Spanish-speaking family at the top of the stairs, a man and woman with young children, apparently touring the Capitol. The dad left down the stairs with two of the children leaving the mom with one four year old boy at the top. The aforementioned lobbyist was trying, in English, to ask the mom if her boy would like some ice cream. I couldn't remember the Spanish word for ice cream at the time, of course (elado?), so I couldn't help, and his assistant kept repeating, "ice cream" in French. Eventually, the lobbyist was able to get the mom to understand his intentions and she said, "Si."

The mom and boy waited while the lobbyist went to buy the ice cream. When he returned, he gave the ice cream novelty to the elated boy who then decided to join his dad at the bottom of the stairs. He lay down on the stairs, on his stomach and slid backwards, all the way down. His mom had retrieved the ice cream from his extended hand before he launched. Way to conquer those treacherous stairs.

On the House side...more later.

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That's the new shower curtain that will debut today at the Capitol. I'll try to have a picture later if I can convince some kind passerby to shoot it. This is the new one I said I would have up on Monday but the underachiever in me was in control over the weekend.

It takes hours to make a shower curtain banner. The curtain has to be attached to a rod and hung to stretch out the folds as much as possible so it isn't such a pain to paint on. Then it has to be marked up so the lettering will be uniform. The painting, which is done freehand, takes the longest. I like to use a flat latex paint because anything glossier tends to stick after the banner's been rolled up for a while. I give the paint at least an hour to dry before I trim the excess material off the bottom of the curtain and fold up a short hem that nearly meets the bottom of the lettering, secured with glue or packing tape. Lately, I prefer the tape because it's faster than waiting for glue to dry and really holds just about as well. The hem at the bottom should be big enough to slip a rod through if it's going to be used outside. There's no need for a rod indoors and the Capitol police wouldn't allow it anyway. Nothing long and hard at the Capitol! Also for outdoor use, grommets should be placed in the hem at either end to accommodate attachments for hooking onto a fence or to attach a slack rope to stand on if you're holding the banner and it's windy.

In order for one person to be able to hold the banner so it's fully extended, I tape a short (19"), thin (within regulation) dowel to the back, top of the banner at both ends. I cover them with pieces of vinyl from the curtain's leftovers, otherwise it looks tacky. If it's outside, a full length rod works fine, too (and is far more pleasurable).

I'm at the Dunn Bros. on University on my way to the Capitol. Later.

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Monday, March 05, 2007

Medical Marijuana Eats Republicans

As I was protesting in front of the House today, a woman came up who seemed supportive but eventually stated that same-sex couples can have all the same provisions of legal marriage if they just get all the legal paperwork done. I explained otherwise, and then she had to leave, saying how great is was that we could disagree. Yes yes, isn't disagreement grand.
A man who actually was supportive came up later and we had quite a long talk about the state of marriage equality. He accepted a Marriage Equality sticker and put it on.
While in front of the Senate, I spoke with a lobbyist for the medical industry about the Medical Marijuana bill. We were laughing about how it's splitting the Republicans since half of them support it and half don't and they're just kind of eating each other. Also, some Republican legislators who support Medical Marijuana are publicly dissing the Minnesota Family Council and complaining about the "religious" wing of the party pushing them around. Oh the hilarity.

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Senate and House Meet Wed., March 7

Senate at 11:00. House at 11:30.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Scariest T-Shirt I've EVER Seen

While at Walgreens in downtown Minneapolis yesterday, waiting to pick up a prescription, I killed some time by looking through their selection of graphics t-shirts until my jaw dropped when I came across one the read, and I kid you not, "ARMY - Serving GOD Is Not A Job...It's An Adventure." WHAT!??? Serving god??? WHAT!!!? What happened to serving your country? I realize this is just a t-shirt, but it is being sold by the largest drugstore chain in America which suggests too me that this is a concept that is widely accepted as, at least, normal. If this even comes close to being the way people commonly regard their military service in this country, we are in big trouble boys and girls. Do you want the people armed with our national arsenal pledging primary allegiance to a fantasy arbitrated by people like Pat Robertson, Nazi Pope Benedict and James Dobson? I don't.

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Saturday, March 03, 2007

Sen. Ann Rest Supports DP Benefits Bill

Senator Ann Rest (my senator) has indicated to me, in an email, that she will vote for the Minicipal Health Benefits bill when it comes to the floor of the Senate. Good for her. The bill gives Minnesota municipalities the option of offerring same-sex spousal benefits to their gay employees. Such benefits were made illegal by an infamous court ruling in the 1990s, Lilly vs Minneapolis.
One must wonder how many spouses of gay, city employees have gone without needed healthcare since that fucker, Lilly, brought his malicious case to court.

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Friday, March 02, 2007

Any Honest Person Has To Answer None

There's a question that should be asked every time someone from the Minnesota Family Council or similar group makes a statement against marriage equality. And that question is this: What possible difference could it make to these people if two men went down to the courthouse and got a piece of paper with their names on it? I mean, what practical effect would this have on their lives? Any honest person has to answer, none. Then, that being the case, what business do they have making a fuss about it?

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New Banner On Monday!

Senate meets at 11:00 Monday. I have lots of ideas for signage. Hard to choose. Here's one, "STOP LOOKING AT ME." Perhaps not.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

House Meets Monday, March 5, 12:30

See you there at noon!

At The Snowy Capitol Today

This is the scene from the steps of the Capitol today around at 11:30 as I was making my way out. And speaking of making out, there was a young, different-sex couple making out in the snowstorm right at the top of steps in front of the Capitol, about three feet away from me while I took this picture. Gross!
Many school groups present today though not as many as yesterday. Once again I was the "protester exhibit."
"GAY PARENTS NEED ACCESS TO MARRIAGE" was the message at the House today. When I got there, one of the security guys said smiling, "I thought you were gonna be late." Well, apparently Marriage Equality has become an expected part of the daily landscape at the Capitol. Good.
"CIVIL MARRIAGE IS A CIVIL RIGHT AND HUMAN RIGHT" was the message a half hour later, on the Senate side. One noteworthy reaction to the shower curtain came from a high school group that was passing by. A young black student read the sign out loud as he was negotiating the treacherous Senate stairs and then exclaimed, "Amen, that's a fact."

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