Today was a beautiful day in Saint Paul.
First, the weather couldn't have been better for an outdoor rally.
Second, about two hundred others from all around Minnesota must have agreed with me as they made their way out to the Minnesota State Capitol to stand with me and the National Organization for Marriage for our "One Man, One Woman" marriage rally which kicked-off shortly after noon today.
We had a great bunch of speakers today including NOM's President Brian Brown, Chuck Darrel of the Minnesota Family Policy Council, Pastor Brad Brandon of KKMS Radio, Senior Pastor Bob Battle of the Berean Church of God in Christ, and Father Michael Becker, representing the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.
Today we had some protesters who had arrived early but all in all they were quiet and respectful. There were exceptions, though.
One loner silently walked around our rally with her rainbow flag. She didn't seem to be a part of the official counter protest.
Like I said, she didn't say a word but did tip her hat to us a few times towards the end of the rally. She was a non-issue.
We also had in attendance two people I was particularly pleased to meet today and that is Minnesota State Senator Warren Limmer, who represents District 32 in the Minnesota State Senate and Tom Prichard, the President of the Minnesota Family Policy Council.
It was a pleasure meeting Senator Limmer today because he is a huge supporter of one man, one woman marriage and has authored legislation that would amend Minnesota's state constitution to define marriage between a man and a woman.
To the right is a picture of Senator Limmer standing with the President of the Minnesota Family Policy Council, Tom Prichard. Warren is on the right, Tom on the left. Mr. Prichard has led the struggle against same-sex marriage in Minnesota and we owe him our thanks as well.
Towards the end of our rally, we did come across more of what we've unfortunately become accustomed to seeing throughout the Summer for Marriage Tour - disrespect and intolerence from those who demand just that from us.
Granted today's protesters, including the ones I am pointing out here were much more in control of themselves, unlike what we have seen in Madison, Providence and Albany.
However, it isn't appropriate for the protesters to chalk up our stage area with foul language. There were small kids in the front row of that rally. Yet, that didn't stop one of the protesters.
Other messages included "We Recruit" as well as "Gay" with an arrow pointing to the NOM podium, which was written while Brian Brown was addressing the crowd.
The protester who went around writing this stuff all over was quick and drew a bit of attention to herself. It was actually funny because she drew the attention of the local media and they started following her around trying to get a shot of what she was doing.
She then disappeared into the crowd and wasn't seen from again.
And that reminds me of our stalkers from California who have been following us around, sometimes getting up real close and personal, trying to film Brian Brown holding private conversations with his family, his children.
They've peered over his shoulder as he used his Blackberry, stuff like that. Well, we noticed that since they were rightfully removed from the rally site in Annapolis for doing all of the above (not for documenting the rally as they claim), they obtained press passes which they've been wearing on their shirts since then.
So why when I wanted to look at their press passes today, they did everything they could to turn them around so I couldn't see them?
Their videographer even went so far as to turn around the press pass of one of his colleagues before I could get a glimpse of it.
So let's look at what happened step by step.
First, as you can see in photograph one, the press pass is visible and right-side-up. He doesn't realize I am there and is continuing to record Brian for the umpteeth minute of his umpteenth interview since the beginning of the Summer for Marriage Tour.
Then, the videographer notices I am taking an interest in his press pass and in step two he blocks my view with his hand. Hm, that's interesting. Maybe he had a bad hair day or something and didn't want me to see his photo.
Now, at the end of the process, as photograph three shows, the press pass is turned around and not visible. What is the secret? What are our friends from the NOM Tour Tracker Blog trying to hide? What's the purpose of wearing press passes if you turn them around when someone wants to see them?
But it goes a little further than that and it wasn't about his photo. When I noticed he didn't want to let me look at his press pass, I turned to his colleague, whose name I didn't catch because... (try to guess).... the videographer flipped that one over too!
At that point the three of them were wearing flipped-over press passes and were stubbornly opposed to anyone actually looking at anything more than the big "PRESS" headline on it. What's the big secret?
Overall, we had a great rally and signed up a great number of new supporters, gave out hundreds of pens, stickers and our T-shirts were quite popular. The event did catch the attention of a handful of local media, which I mentioned earlier, so we had a pretty successful day.