(more below the fold)
The rally was pretty much what one might expect from a group of born-again nutjobs with an agenda to create a theocracy: of the thousands there, a token few weren't Caucasian, most were relatively well dressed, carrying signs with their definition of marriage on them, or sundry other Christian messages. That, in and of itself, isn't offensive... this is a public assembly after all, they have the right to do that and to be heard. Their message, however, was darkly amusing:
" People think we don't like gays. They're right, we don't. We love them (oh the facial expression was priceless here) because this book commands us to."
" We don't oppose homosexuals. We oppose anyone that wants to undermine the authority of this book" *holds up teh babble*
"Those people in the legislature are friends of ours. We need to support them, and encourage them to do the right thing, no matter how many nasty editorials the media writes about them. We need to encourage them to support this bill; we need to pray for them and for this legislation"
"They don't want this bill to pass, because in every other state in the south, something like this has gone to vote and passed by 70%"
" The legislators aren't here to do their will, they're here to do the will of the people. The people want this."
(insert random comments about persecution of Xians that I'm not directly quoting here)
Favorite sign of the day:
Sin brings God's Wrath on the Nation
*goofball deifying caps included*
The 'counter-protest' wasn't as large or vocal as it might have been... there were at most 30 of us, mostly homosexual, a few allies, of various ages (and to be fair, our makeup was as pale as the rally's). A few were standing behind the stage, quietly, with one girl holding a sign. The rest attempted to enter Halifax Mall (note: this is a public place) and turned away by Raleigh PD because we didn't have a permit to assemble there. This resistance evaporated once we fetched the news crew from News 14, and materialized immediately when the camera left. Those of us that weren't asked to leave at that point were escorted out when a couple of teenage girls with us walked through the crowd holding hands, placing all of us squarely across the street from the exit, right next to the church buses that brought most of the crowd. Others were turned away at other points in time, largely because they held signs, a rainbow flag, or wore a shirt that ran counter to the 'message' of the rally. A-News (http://apartmentj.com/_shows/anews/index.html) and the Triangle Gay/Lesbian Newspaper have video and photographic evidence of Raleigh PD physically removing another protester from a public sidewalk.
Necessary synopsis aside, today's events raise interesting, if frustrating issues:
Apparently the city of Raleigh, or the state of North Carolina, only respects a citizen's constitutional right to assemble if they have a permit for it? I can't fathom how that would hold up in court, but I'm also not personally willing to get arrested for it without a lawyer that pledges his/her services, pro bono, to try the case.
These people really think what they're preaching is love? For that matter, these people think?
In retort to the sign, if the main concern here is that their vengeful sky-daddy has shitty aim, and will punish 300 million people for the "sins" of significantly fewer, I'd say we're safe here.
The take home message? Homosexuality is a naturally occurring state of being; there are neurological differences that can be attributed to the amount of testosterone to which someone is exposed in the womb that correlate with sexual 'preference'. Banning gay marriage is tantamount to banning interracial marriage: you can make an argument for it, but it doesn't make you any less of a bigot. If all they intended to do was pray about it, it wouldn't bother me much. It's the declaration of the will to insert their deity into secular politics at any level that I detest. (For those that are going to argue that such an insertion is the will of the people, it may well be, but there's a clause in the first amendment to the U.S. Constitution that prevents that, for good reason).
A majority taken collectively may be regarded as a being whose opinions, and most frequently whose interests, are opposed to those of another being, which is styled a minority. If it be admitted that a man, possessing absolute power, may misuse that power by wronging his adversaries, why should a majority not be liable to the same reproach?
Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America