Shower Curtain Chronicles: May 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, May 29, 2008

Marriage Equality Minnesota

The domain is purchased, the new website is up and the new organization is headed for glory. Here's the link: It's simple but functional.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Strib Commentary Urges Bill's Passage

In a commentary written by a straight Minneapolis couple touting their intention to marry in Canada as a protest of Minnesota's marriage laws that discriminate against gay couples, the couple urges the legislature to pass the" recently introduced Marriage And Family Protection Act." Oh, hell yes! I believe this is the bill's debut in the Star Tribune even though I sent them a press release last week. We'll take it! This should stimulate some discussion.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

To All Those Involved - Thank you!

The Marriage And Family Protection Act is now introduced in the legislature and on the record. Even though there wasn't a vote on the bill this session, the fact remains that a bill designed to end official and unconstitutional discrimination against same-sex couples in the state's marriage statutes took the first step to becoming law. That step required the actions of many people of courage who believe in equality. I thank them here.

First, thanks to my old friend Representative Mike Jaros for allowing me to bring a marriage bill to the Revisor's office, on his authority, and for initially carrying the bill.

Next, thanks to Senator John Marty for carrying the bill in the Senate and for making improvements to its content. Thanks to Senators: Patricia Torres Ray, Linda Higgins, Sandra Pappas and Mee Moua for co-authoring the bill.

Thanks to Representative Phyllis Kahn for carrying the House bill and to Representatives: Mike Jaros, Cy Thao, Karen Clark, Alice Hausman, Carlos Marianni, Erin Murphy, Diane Loeffler, Augustine "Willie" Dominguez, Mindy Greiling, Neva Walker, Frank Hornstein, John Lesch and Ryan Winkler for co-sponsoring.

Thank you, to my wonderful husband, Duane, who makes me feel like the luckiest guy on the face of the earth and who makes it possible for me to be at the Capitol protesting, where I am fortunate to have him occasionally join me.

Thanks to Matt Peterson and Robert Halfhill for their contributions to the effort and to my sister, Dilly, for cheering on her little brother .

Thanks to David Strand for bringing his superior political knowledge and skills to the effort in the waning days of the session, helping to identify and secure some support for the bill and for agreeing to take a leadership role in the campaign to make the Marriage And Family Protection Act the law of the land.

Thanks to the many DFL lawmakers who frequently express solidarity and encouragement to me while I'm protesting and to a few GOP legislators who have stopped to express respect for the effort.

Also, a tip of the hat to the opposition lobbyists, Keith and Ruth Anne for being friendly enemies.

Thanks to the Revisor, Craig Lindeke, for his guidance and supportive words. Thanks to lobbyist, Dave Engstrom and other lobbyists, Capitol staff, security people, state troopers, local police officers patroling in the Capitol and visitors, young and old, for their support, encouragement and kindness.

I want to pay respect to someone I've never met, whose activism was a comfort and inspiration to me as a closeted young gay man in the seventies. Jack Baker tried to end marriage discrimination nearly four decades ago in this state through the courts and remains a symbol of the marriage equality movement. His effort is a reminder that even though the numbers may not seem to be on our side, it's important to try. That's what we're doing and we're gonna win.


Sunday, May 18, 2008

Last Day Good Day

Duane joined me at the Capitol today and held the "LEGAL MARRIAGE FOR GAY COUPLES NOW" shower curtain. He had fun. A couple came up and had their picture taken behind the banner with him. On the Senate side, a security guard said to Duane, "you get one day off and he makes you come here?"

David also came to protest and held the "CIVIL MARRIAGE CIVIL RIGHT" sign. Rep. Karen Clark and Sen. Scott Dibble had their picture taken with the three of us and the signs.

Rep. Phyllis Kahn, the House author of the Marriage And Family Protection Act presented me with an autographed copy of the bill. She wrote, "ON TO VICTORY!" Yeah!

We knocked off about 2:30.


Saturday, May 17, 2008

Bill Introduced In Both Houses

H.F. No. 4248, the Marriage And Family Protection Act was officially introduced in the House today. I found out while protesting at the Capitol this morning when Rep. Kahn brought me the list of bills introduced today while I was in front of the Senate. There weren't any bills introduced yesterday even though Rep. Kahn turned the bill in on Thursday. I guess they wanted to wait for them to pile up a bit. Senator Marty happened upon the scene as well so we had a brief moment of celebration over our accomplishment.

This is a link to the Senate bill, S.F. No. 3880.


Friday, May 16, 2008

Still Waiting For House Bill To Show Up

The House bill still hasn't shown up but no bill has shown up today and I know there are other bills to be introduced this who knows. We'll just keep watching. The Senate bill is in and on the record.

Andy Birkey of the Eleventh Avenue South blog did a nice story on our effort today. It's worth checking out.


The Senate Bill Has A Number...3880

The press release has been released. It was sent to AP, MPR and the newspapers. The House bill has not shown up on the House website yet but it was dropped in and will come up today.

This is a great day for my family and thousands of other families across this state. We have a bill and hope.


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Today's Protest

While I was protesting in front of the Senate this morning, lobbyist, Tom Lehman told me he ran into an elderly couple who were shocked that I was allowed to protest there. Later, an elderly couple passed by on the opposite side of the stairs. The woman's face was contorted with anger as she glared at me, violently shaking her hand in a thumbs down gesture. The man moved toward me briefly while angrily mumbling something about my civil marriage rights. I smiled at them and said, "thank you," as they moved on.

House, Senate Meet 9:00 Thursday

They deserve a day off. They'll probably be in session all weekend. I'll be there.

Marriage Equality Bill To Be Dropped In Thursday - Really...This Is It

I met with Senator Marty this morning and he said he will drop the bill in on Thursday morning, coordinating the drop-in with Rep. Kahn. That means the bill will be introduced on Friday. Senator Marty took some pride in the fact that this bill means Minnesota will take the lead in the Upper Midwest in the legislative push for Marriage Equality. Indeed.

As I told many legislators while I was in the process of gathering sponsors, "this bill is an effort to turn the train around and get it headed in the right direction." No matter what happens with this bill after it is introduced on Friday, the train will be turned.


14 On Bill In House; Senate 5

The bill has been returned to Rep. Kahn with a total of fourteen representatives signed on and is ready for introduction. It should be noted that five is the maximum allowable on a senate bill. I talked with her this morning and she will talk to Sen. Marty to coordinate the drop in. I will visit him this morning. The Senate meets at 10:30.


Thursday, May 08, 2008

Marriage Equality Bill Now Has 11 House Sponsors

Picked up two yesterday and three today. Back at it tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Kahn Says Gay Marriage Bill Goes In Next Week

David Strand and I were at the Capitol today seeking additional sponsors for the MARRIAGE AND FAMILY PROTECTION ACT in the House. The newest sponsor is Rep. Carlos Mariani of St. Paul who just signed on today. Thank you, Representative Mariani! We visited Rep. Kahn earlier to pick up the bill jackets and she told us the bill would go in next week.

Tomorrow, the House meets at 11:00, the Senate at 3:00. I have the jackets and we will be back at it.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Will It Be This Week?

Will the MARRIAGE AND FAMILY PROTECTION ACT be dropped in this week? Could be. Stay tuned.

Tomorrow, the Senate and House meet at 11:00. The House reconvenes at 12:30. There at 10:30.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Live Blog From The Capitol

I just had my first run-in of the session with an anti-gay kook in front of the House and oh, she had ALL the answers. This was a person who didn't know the difference between law and her religion. She scolded "You can't get married!" I told her I can in Massachusetts. She responded that "the laws are a bunch of baloney." To which I said, "What kind of an American would make such a statement? This is a nation of laws!" I couldn't resist the opportunity to question the patriotism of a right wing asshole. She started invoking "the church" and I said, " Well I don't believe in your church but I'm just as much a citizen as you are and I should have the same rights!" She frowned and droned the "marriage is for procreation" bullshit, to which I countered, "infertile and eighty year old couple's get married all the time with no intention of ever having children, but I DO know GAY couples with children who can't provide their families the protections that come with legal marriage. Having a limited arsenal, she started blathering about church crap again, with the always accompanying condescending tone, so I simply said, "You're wrong!" and repeated it until she flapped down the hall and out of my hair. These homofascist nut jobs always make it a point to get the last word in and we let them because we're too nice. Not this time.

The security guy came over after she left and commended me for my patience. That surprised me because I didn't feel I was very patient.

Then I saw Pritchard snaking around and someone mentioned it was "national prayer day," so I'm sure it will be kookorama all day here.

Thurs. House Meets 9:30; Senate 11

Yesterday I was only able to make the House because of a dentist appointment but Matt joined me for awhile which made it a special protest day. Matt held the"LEGAL MARRIAGE FOR GAY COUPLES NOW" while I brandished the "I WANT MY CIVIL MARRIAGE RIGHTS" shower curtain. Matt and I were laughing at how when groups of kids go by they read the word "GAY" out loud. When I left for the dentist, Matt stayed to continue the protest. Thanks Matt!