Shower Curtain Chronicles: February 2008

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.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

On The Senate Side Today

A lesbian leading a group of homeless advocates stopped at the top of the Senate stairs to thank me for being there. I returned the gratitude for her cause. She decried the state of affairs for gay couples in this state and said she's just lucky to have domestic partner benefits where she works because her partner of 8 years is very ill. Later, another lesbian also stopped and said thanks. She and her partner have been together for 22 years and have 3 kids.

Just Finished The House Protest

"Let Me Marry My Partner Of 17 Years" drew a response from a suited, twenty something lobbyist from across the hall in front of the House chamber this morning. He said, "When my generation is in charge, you won't have this problem." I can't wait that long.

I thanked Republican, Rep. Jim Abler for his sacrifice on the transportation override vote. He said, "see we can agree on some things. I respect your effort here...you're brave too."

There was an anti-gun group in the rotunda today. One of them had a button that said, "Minnesotans For Not Being Shot."

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

House Meets Thursday at 10:00; Senate at 11:00

Guess they needed a rest after that transportation veto override. Glad they did it. Perhaps now our transit system will have a chance to catch up with that of medieval Europe.

I'll be there at 9:30 and 10:30. Maybe there'll be pictures soon if I figure out how to use my phone.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Monday 100% Increase In Protest Size

Matt joined me at the Capitol today for both the Senate and House sessions. Thanks Matt! He picked a good day to jump in.

Things were quiet as usual on the Senate side with just a few lobbyists around. Matt was on one side of the stairs, me on the other. Senator Mua came up all smiles and said, "It's about time you got somebody else to join you!" She's great. The two gay senators, Scott Dibble and Paul Koering came up the stairs together today. That was nice to see. I'm not sure why. Keith, the opposition lobbyist was there with about a ten year old boy. Maybe a grandkid he was showing around.

After lunch, we arrived at the House to a scene of dozens of strangers with protest signs, some of them in MY SPOT. They were there for the transportation bill veto override. We found a vacant piece of real estate across the hall from where I usually stand and "unfurled." Once the Teamsters who were around us saw what we were selling, "SAME SEX SAME RIGHTS" and "MAKE MY FAMILY LEGAL," there was suddenly more room for us to spread out. The television stations were there and a Star Tribune photog took down our names for a picture he had taken of us. I hope I wasn't picking my nose. Maybe we'll be in tomorrow.

The protesters rushed over to the entrance the Republicans use and just stood silently in the hall, waving their signs as the Repugs filed by but when the DFL came in they began shouting slogans as the Dems snaked through the gauntlet of angry transportation advocates. Wasn't it the Republicans who were standing in the way of the bill?

The House got started a half hour or so late and my meter ran out, but the excitement was worth hanging around for.

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Sunday, February 24, 2008

Senate Meets Monday, 11:00; House, 12:30

I'll be there at 10:30 and Noon, respectvely. Join me.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Transportation Day At The Capitol

The big news at the Capitol today is the transportaion bill vote. Lots of angst surrounding that.

FFA jackets filled the Capitol today. Not sure what they were trying to do as they moved around the Capitol in packs. They were well behaved and seemed generally shy and kind of giggly. Of course, the shy and giggly stuff could have just been around me.

A number of people came up and asked if I was there because as gay marriage bill was being considered today. No. I had the graphic shower curtain today with the couple symbol equals couple symbol design.

Sen. Scott Dibble told me he's found a way to tie GLBT issues to transportation and would provide me with the documentation. Should be interesting.

More later.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Wednesday's Rowdy Rotunda

It was a bit noisy today at the Capitol with a group of college students rallying in the rotunda. A small group of them from UMD approached me in front of the House identifying themselves as supporters. I was holding the "GAY FAMILIES DESERVE AND DEMAND EQUALITY" shower curtain. Most of the conversation I had with the woman and two men focussed on the presidential campaign and their experience at this year's caucuses in Duluth. They descibed the heavy turnout and attributed it to excitement over Obama, whom they all support. They also stated that they participated in a "marriage equality" subcaucus at their precinct caucus. I thanked them and gave them "MARRIAGE EQUALITY" stickers which they promptly applied to their clothing. After offering some words of encouragement, they returned to the rally. The future looks bright.

I didn't do the Senate today. The 2:15 start time was just too inconvenient.

Tomorrow, the House meets at 10:00 and the Senate at 11:00. I'll be there for both.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Tuesday Live Capitol Blog

Just finished up in front of the House with "Same Sex Same Rights." Had conversation with a nice young man who was here with his mock legislature group from Winona. He was supportive. Karen Clark stopped to express her appreciation for my being here. Chatted briefly with Mike Jaros. I asked lobbyist, Dave Engstrom about some legislation that might be in play.

Monday, February 18, 2008

House Meets Tuesday, Noon

I'll be there at 11:30. The Senate is not currently scheduled to meet in session tomorrow.

Blogging Live From The Capitol

I just finished up in front of the House with the "Marriage Equality Is Overdue" shower curtain. Had a nice chat with Mary Murphy and got welcomed back by Nancy Larsen, Sen. John Marty's running mate when he ran for governor. She's now a superdelegate to the Dem National Convention this year. One lobbyist on a knee scooter said it was good to see me but too bad I had to come back. Well I better sign off before I lose the signal. The wifi is very iffy here.

Monday At The Senate

I'm at coffee between sessions, blogging via iPod. Got to the Senate stairs at 10:30 and most of the people present were the security guys. I had a discussion with one of them about pheasants. He had a pheasant pin on his lapel. Nice guy, very calm. I got to know him last year. He's retired from Sears where he was a security guard for years.

There were the usual faces with the usual exchanges but there was one anomoly. A state trooper sweeping through the area came across an unattended leather bag. He asked around briefly to see if it belonged to anyone but there were no takers so he swiftly exited the area with the bag proclaiming, "looks like I got a bag." Frankly, it was a little scary. I was happy when he was out of sight. It probably just belonged to a lobbyist.

Well, I better get back to the Capitol to do the House.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Senate Meets Monday, 11:00; House 12:30

I'll be in front of the Senate at 10:30, the House at Noon. Come one, come all and help keep this issue fresh in the minds of lawmakers.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Valentines Day Capitol Blogging

The area in front of the House chambers was a bit crowded when I set up about ten minutes to ten right next to former House Speaker turned lobbyist, Robert Vanasek. There was an arts group lobbying at the Capitol and many of them expressed approval of my cause as they walked by. The doors to the chamber closed so I picked up and moved over to the Senate side.

Senator Don Betzold was the first person up the stairs who greeted me and asked how I was doing. I said, "Good morning" and "Still waiting for my civil rights," to which he responded,"yup," while looking straight ahead marching up the stairs, briefcase in hand. He's certainly a strong supporter and I wasn't harrassing him but wanted to remind him and others why I'm still there. It was uncomfortable.

Next, the openly Republican, Gay Senator, Paul Koering came smiling up the stairs. He shook my hand and asked how I was. I said, "I'm still a second class citizen and so are you." We laughed and then his phone rang so that was that. Many other senators passed by and welcomed me back.

Later as I had coffee at a St. Paul Caribou, a young man came up to my table and said he liked my "MARRIAGE EQUALITY" sticker and that it was very appropriate for Valentines Day. I had plenty of extras in my pocket so I asked if he would like one. He as very happy get it and said he would look for a permanent place to stick it.

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Video At State Of The State Protest

I suppose it was a mistake to ask the police inside the Civic Center where the protests were taking place. Once inside, I probably could have just unfurled the shower curtain in a conspicuous location in the lobby of the Civic Center where people were registering and milling about, but no, I had to ask. The cops were nice though. I needed to use the bathroom before I went out to the protest gulag so the officer introduced himself, escorted me to the washroom and then out to the other side of the street. He told me that if anyone gave me trouble to let him know. I thanked him and told him I would need to go to the van to get a warmer hat, which I did. There were no barricades up at that time, but when I came back wearing my furry hat, my outdooor "free speech" prison had been fully constructed.

At first, I didn't know what the barricades were for so I stood in front of them for maximum visibility. Then a cop came across the street to tell me that I would have to stand behind them. Oh, I see. The barricades are here for me....one person with a shower curtain.

video

Protesting State Of The State

I'm posting via ipod at Milo's sandwich shop in St. Cloud warming up after protesting in a personal "free speech" zone outside the St. Cloud Civic Center. Seriously, I was alone in a corral of baricades, set up for me across the street from the Civic Center. I was holding the "LET ME MARRY MY PARTNER OF 17 YEARS" banner. Did I feel special. My own "free speech" zone. I'm not sure if any of the legislators arriving by bus saw me, but I did get interviewed by Nick Coleman of the Strib. We laughed about the "free speech" zone. He said would try to get my story in tomorrow's column.

I did get some footage I will post later when I get to the laptop.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Opening Session Lively

Many protesters present for the opening session. There was a good sized group concerned with healthcare and many of them wanted my "MARRIAGE EQUALITY" stickers. Good thing I made a bunch last night.

The Welfare Rights group was there as well, and they were all over the Capitol. First they were outside, then marching in the rotunda and wound up in front of the House chambers, forming a gauntlet for legislators to pass through... and were they loud. They were organized and rehersed and it was impressive. I joined in some of their chants.

I spoke with lobbyist, Dave Engstrom, about Project 515, the organization that is trying to erase statutory inequities between same and opposite sex couples. He says it is being well received by legislators.

I'll try to have some pictures up soon.

Preparing For Protest

I'm at the Blackdog Cafe in St. Paul waiting to go up to the Capitol for the opening session, anticipating a large herd of lobbyists and media. Welfare rights is planning a protest too, so it'll be nice to see those folks again. They're very supportive of my efforts.

Well, I've got the shower curtains, stickers and a charged-up parking meter card so I'm good to go. Report later.

Monday, February 04, 2008

2008 Legislative Session Opens Next Tuesday, Feb. 12

Session opens at Noon. I will be there at 11:00 to get a good spot at the entrance to the House chamber. The Senate opens at the same time so I may not make it over there during prime time the first day. I'll probably head over there after the House convenes. The Senate sometimes lags the House when they meet at the same time so I might be able to catch a few Senators on their way in.

As usual, anyone who would like to join me is encouraged to do so. I will have stickers and extra signs for at least a dozen people. The shower curtain du jour will probably be "LET ME MARRY MY PARTNER OF 16 YEARS", but "16" will be crossed out and "17" written above, letting the legislators know that yet another year of official bigotry has been added to Minnesota's history.