Today the Summer for Marriage Tour, a project I helped create and organize over the past seven months has come to an end and it couldn't have wrapped up any better.
Reverend Fauntroy helped plan the March on Washington where Dr. King delivered the "I Have A Dream' speech, he is a former member of the U.S. Congress and even ran for President back in 1972.
The focus of his message today was that same-sex marriage does not fall into line with the kind of Civil Rights he has been fighting for nor does it fall into line with the kind of Civil Rights that where the foundation of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.
Honestly speaking, even I was a little surprised at today's turnout at the Capitol Building considering the fact that it was literally pouring this morning until about 11:00 AM just before we arrived on site.
Luckily, the rain had stopped by the time we arrived but it was still raining on and off up until about 1:00 PM or so, an hour before we were scheduled to get started. In fact, it was raining enough during set-up that we moved our podium and speakers under one of our tents. We were thinking up a contingency plan for what to do if it kept raining or worse - started to rain during the rally.
Do we use the stage or not? Well, using the stage puts the speaker up about 15 inches higher. That's great but the tent isn't high enough for that . What about taking the 15-inch legs and using the 8-inch legs? Is there enough room? No, still not enough room, no one can see the speaker's head. What about attaching the umbrella to the podium somehow? No, that's not going to work - not stable enough.
We were fortunate to see the rain subside and not be faced with that issue going into the rally.
We started our rally about 25 minutes late today. Seems there was some confusion about the location of the rally, as some of our attendees gathered and were waiting for us on the West Side of the Capitol Building - the side that faces the Washington Monument.
We were actually on the East Side. We also had some issues with parking. Heightened security and all, we had to park our van six blocks away at Union Station. So yes, we started a bit late but that was not a problem.
Today's rally was also streamed live over the Internet via UStream. We experimented with the idea for some of the earlier rallies but we either didn't have the equipment we needed or couldn't get it set up the right way or simply didn't have the extra pair of hands to operate the camera for it. We did today though, and at a peak, I believe some 300 people were viewing today's rally from all over the United States.
|View of the DC rally from the rear. Aug. 15, 2010|
They came from all over. There were people from Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland and of course the District of Columbia.
All turned out for marriage between a man and a woman and what an inspiring event it really was.
By this time I had long forgotten about the rain and was busy taking pictures and shooting videos of all the people who came out to stand with us.
At first we were by ourselves and the planned protest of our rally was nowhere to be seen or heard. But that was short-lived. A group of them made there way towards our rally holding a sign that was created in honor of some of the participants friends who had been victims of violence because of their sexuality.
I understand the message and I think it's great that these people came out to stand against violence against homosexuals - we should all be standing up against this kind - or any kind of hate not only against homosexuals but everyone.
Our rally today was not a rally of hate or of violence or of the advocation of violence or hate. The people who attended our rally today were God-loving Christians who stood together to honor the institution of marriage and to stand up for the family. I therefore don't think there is much integrity or honesty in the attempt to link violence geared towards homosexuals to the effort to protect marriage between a man and a woman.
|Protesters bear signs claiming NOM is responsible|
for the deaths of victimized homosexuals.
One sign, as shown to the right, goes as far as to say that "NOM has blood on its hands".
This was not necessary, completely untrue and it merely demonstrates the campaign of deceit our opponents and running in order to gain sympathy for their cause.
Anyway, we also were given the opportunity to listen to Bishop Harry Jackson speak and he rocked the Capitol. He was really great and I have got a video I'm going to put up later on for everyone to have the opportunity of hearing his message.
|Bishop Harry Jackson addresses the crowd|
in Washington, D.C. on August 15, 2010.
So this was the first time I had the opportunity to listen to this man speak at full strength and it was incredible how he was able to inspire us all.
He led the crowd in a great chant of "Let the People Vote, Let the People Vote, Let the People Vote".
Of course our friends over at the Courage Campaign were at the rally today. By that I mean, the NOM Tour Trackers were walking around. Unfortunate how, to the very last rally they continued to identify themselves in rather shady ways. Most people we talked to after an interview with them told us they thought the NOM Tour Trackers were with us.
Think about it. You're at a rally hosted by the National Organization for Marriage (aka NOM) an organization many got acquainted with for the first time at the very same rally. Then you are approached by Arisha and Anthony who identify themselves "with the NOM Tour Tracker". I think it's fair to say that is less than honest.
I will at least give them credit for eventually admitting who they were with after someone would press for more information - and there were some who did that from time to time. It would have been nice if they just said "Hi, we're from the Courage Campaign out of California and we'd like to interview you," or something like that.
Talking about questions. Arisha loves to and is good at asking questions and can hold her own in a conversation. I've talked with her many times throughout the tour and although we disagree on this issue we've always been nice to each other. Now, I can't tell you what they say behind my back, maybe nothing, but generally speaking, they were respectful throughout the tour. So this is not an attack on Arisha or Anthony.
But like I said, Arisha likes to ask questions and grill Brian daily with what essentially amounts to the same conversation everyday. Arisha tries to get Brian to say certain things their readers want Brian to say in order to catch him in some kind of a contradiction or something like that and Brian gives his answers.
Now these answers are never satisfying to Arisha because she basically fails each time to get Brian to say something she could use against him.
|NOM Tour Tracker "Arisha" from California ignores|
woman speaking to her about God.
But the point of this is that Arisha doesn't seem to like it when the camera is on her or when she is being asked questions.
I happened to be in the right place at the right time to catch this shot of Arisha making a beeline for any exit she could when some woman, supporting our marriage rally, was speaking with Arisha.
Arisha wanted nothing of it.
However, to her credit, she did entertain an hour-long conversation with me after the Charleston, WV rally where, not to her credit, she said she wouldn't oppose the legalization of polygamy because it wouldn't personally affect her marriage.
She also didn't oppose the idea, hypothetically speaking, if her future child wanted to marry a man and a woman. This would be a triad marriage between three people. Arisha said she'd want to talk with said child and see where his or her heart was.
This came up when I asked her, on camera, if she believes it is possible to use the same legal argument she uses now for the legalization of same-sex marriage for the legalization of polygamy or other alternative forms of marriage.
So long story short, this woman, who represents the Courage Campaign, a gay-rights organization out of California, is on record not necessarily opposing polygamy or triad marriages. To be fair she did say that she wouldn't personally engage in such activities.
Speaking about the Courage Campaign, I had the opportunity to meet it's chair today, Richard Jacobs. Apparently, he flew out from California for one last shot to put Brian on the spot. I guess they were getting frustrated with the lack of fodder Arisha was providing.
|Richard Jacobs, Courage Campaign debates|
Brian Brown, National Organization for Marriage.
As you can see, Arisha is in the background, having been relieved by her boss, and Anthony is filming.
He too, was unsuccessful.
You see, perhaps if our cause was actually centered around the hate and bigotry our opponents say it is, they'd be able to get us to say radical and hateful and bigoted things.
But when you're not talking to a radical or hateful or bigoted person, you're probably not going to hear them say hateful or bigoted things!
Such is the case when speaking with Brian Brown or anyone who supports marriage between a man and a woman including myself.
On another note, I spoke with Mr. Jacobs and he's a nice guy. We have something in common: Russia. We've both lived in Russia for some period of time and it was cool to exchange a few lines with each other in Russia. It's too bad that he has forgotten much of the language - it would have been fun to speak in Russian again.
It even took me a second and a few lines to get back into that phase. Switching to Russian after speaking only English for a few months takes a few seconds. Nice to meet you, Rick. You should have come to our other stops, too.