Thursday, April 23, 2009

Maine's Gay Marriage Public Hearing

Dr. Pat Gozemba, author of Courting Equality and I went to Augusta Maine to give our testimony in support of LD 1020, the "gay marriage" bill. We did not expect the turnout we saw. Allow me to share my photos with you and walk you through what you are seeing so you can share in my experience.

The Augusta Civic Center was packed to capacity for the testimonials.

The sea of red is a result of EqualityMaine's call to wear this color in support of equality.

There were a few less opponents than supporters. ;)

Many of the opposition members were elderly, which stands to reason since we know that you start off life full of curiosity, then as we get older we get more and more conservative. I think a healthy balance is best, but even that opinion comes with my own age.

Judy Bullard and Pam Anderson sat next to Dr. Pat Gozemba and I for most of the event and run an organic farm called "Deep Roots" in Scarborough, Maine.

This is what twenty years of love looks like.

This group of college students is called "One in Ten" and led the protest of some of the more hateful testimony by turning their backs to the speaker, and their example was followed by all the supporters.

This woman is an eighth generation Mainer whose Father is a legislator who could not be there that day because of his health. She is also a former state representative and supports equality in marriage.

I learned that ironically Mary Bonato won marriage equality in Massachusetts through her Goodridge lawsuit, yet cannot share in that freedom herself because her home state of Maine has not yet joined us.

This young man has the courage and compassion to give his testimony for his GLBT friends even though he is straight. This is the essence of a hero; to do for others without regard for yourself.

There was a huge coalition of clergy from all sorts of churches across Maine that came out to support GLBT equality. Here you see the "laying of hands" in an attempt to channel the power of the Holy Spirit into the speaker through love.

This next gentleman was married prior to the 1967 ruling Loving v. Virginia and speaks from his point of view as a black man. It was a powerful speech and I want you to hear it for yourselves:

What gay rights rally would be complete without the misrepresentations of present? Here we have David Parker himself up from Lexington, MA trying to pedal his hate I'm sure for a price. Parker is the man who claims his son was being indoctrinated because the school was allowing "Who is in a family" to be read. He claims it is filled with homosexual propaganda, but Mainers check the facts for themselves and caught him with his pants down

Mainers were ready for him, let me show you there response in this video clip:

I have a huge amount of respect for Mainer's; they get it. It's not about the rights of the opposition, they just don't want us to have the level of respect from society that would require they change their attitude or give them the responsibility to look in the mirror. Mainer's seem to be able to see the deception for what it is and don't particularly like someone trying to hoodwink them. Perhaps Maine is the "Way Life Should Be." Good luck Mainers, this granola eater is routing for you!

I expect after what I've seen that Maine will become fully equal under the law before this legislative session concludes, and that's good enough for me. I don't have a date as to when the vote is, but it will be soon.

I'll have more video on coming up soon!


John said...

Good job, John, good job.

Having spent half my childhood in the beautiful state of Maine, this really warms my heart.

John Hosty-Grinnell said...

Thanks John. I thought that the pictures kind of spoke for themselves a lot, so I really didn't have to add too much. If anyone wants to know about something specific let me know.

Mainers have my respect.

jelly said...

Fantastic pictures John! Thank you for posting them, I really enjoyed looking at them.

The good people of Maine have my respect today as well, way to go people.

It is so nice to see everyone come together in such a positive way!

John Hosty-Grinnell said...

Thanks for the kind words Jelly. It was as inspiring to be there as you would imagine from the pictures and video. I only wish I could say the same thing about New Hampshire.

jelly said...

There still is hope for NH.

I mean, look at Iowa, who would have ever thought??


John Hosty-Grinnell said...

Jelly, when I was at the hearing in Maine there was a deaf speaker for equality who used his interpreter as his voice. The interpreter communicated to him that applause was going on behind him since he was facing the legislators he was addressing rather than the audience. She put her hands up in the air open palmed and shook them turning her hands slightly when she did. The audience was all silently wrestling with the trouble of the speaker not understanding the accolades they were trying to give him. Without speaking to one another we all understood what she was doing and followed her example. By the time he turned to look he saw a see of Mainers frantically waving their hands in the same way they just learned only seconds ago. It was deeply moving!

The is an inherent goodness to all people, we just need to look a little to find it.

John Hosty-Grinnell said...

I posted another video on that has the senator's full speech in text attached to it for you Jelly. If I were paying more attention I could have videoed the sign language interpreter instead of facing the camera at the speaker. Sorry for that, I'll think better or that next time!