Friday, April 20, 2007
VoteOnMarriage's "Public" Meeting in Beverly Farms
A group of pro-equality supporters went to see what was going on at the VoteOnMarriage meeting held at the Beverly Farms Public Library Thursday night. We figured we would go there, listen to what they had to say, and mingle with the opposition after the meeting had concluded. Director of KnowThyNeighbor.org Tom Lang, and his spouse Alex Westerhoff had done so at the meeting in Rockport, and were well received, so there was no reason to think this meeting would be any different. Nothing could have been further from the truth. First, the meeting was supposed to commence at 6:00pm, but when no one else had shown up, the meeting was delayed. By 6:35pm it was clear that there were no others coming, the five people that already were there were all the support VOM had mustered here. Perhaps they felt embarrassed that more people had not supported them. We did have about six times the people come to support us. Maybe they had some messages that they didn't want us to here. Whatever the case may be, they told Lang that it was "in very poor taste" for him to have come, and they took their "meeting" elsewhere. All five of them. Much to my chagrin, they took the donuts too.
Since we had a classroom of people, a cleared meeting room, and some time to kill, we all sat down and talked with each other for nearly three hours. In that time I met Steve Galante and Bill Pluckhahn, the two local gentlemen that have adopted five children. Famous photographer Marilyn Humphries was there, as well as Professor Patricia Gozemba, who has teamed up with Humphries to give us a very excellent documentary called "Courting Equality". Be sure to check out their website, CourtingEquality.com. There was a woman who had recently lost her significant other up in New Hampshire, and was dealing with the inheritance issues of not being in a legally recognized marriage. Co-founder and director of KnowThyNeighbor.org Aaron Toleos was there, as well as Greg Kimball, KnowThyNeighbor.org treasurer. Along with other gay community members were three straight couples, and a lone straight married gentleman. all expressed varying levels of having had enough of the fear factor VoteOnMarriage has created.
Unlike our opponents, we did not spend our time trying to demonize those who oppose us. Instead, we spoke about our personal struggles, and our hopes for the future. A future in which we all live side by side as equals, and treat our neighbors as a neighbor should. What I saw were good people standing up for what they believe in, and standing against the mistruths that are so often used to scare people into forgetting that we are all human. In being human we are deserving of being judged by the content of our character, and the merits of our actions and intents. Many asked what we can do to correct the wrongs being visited upon us by the "moral" right. Our power lies in the truth, and in having our supporters call their legislators. The other strength is that we have only begun to utilize networking. The "Gay Agenda" as it is called is really nothing but a farce. One that has been perpetuated by those who would use fear to control people who are easily led. It is as much a myth as BigFoot and unicorns.
That being said, we all agreed to stay in touch, and to clear our schedules for the May 9th Con-Con. Picking up a phone or making a donation is one thing, but physically showing up to demand that all people be treated equal is entirely another. We are not an agenda, or an evil force Hell bent on scuttling what our neighbors value. We are real people, and hopefully the legislators will see a few extra faces this time around to think about before they decide how to best settle the devisive issue of marriage equality.