Live Blogging Today's Equality Hearing
Hella Bus writer Devin Glaser and Bus Staffer Abigail Doerr are in Olympia for the Marriage Equality Hearings in both the House and Senate today. Here is what they are texting to me, slightly modified into complete sentences:
10:10am - The tension in the room is palpable, and things kick off with a stern reminder in advance about respect. No jeering, sighs, etc...
Read as the drama unfolded on an incredible day for Equality...
10:11am - After three warning they are clearing the hearing room. Although there is almost nowhere to spill over into since the three overflow rooms, the senate chambers, and the main chamber are all packed. Right now people are standing in the main chamber watching on TVW.
It appears that the majority of people in attendance are against marriage equality judging by the number of "one man/one woman white pins."
10:20am - "The Governor is 150% in support of this legislation," Jim Justin - Gregoire's Legislative Director.
Michael Shiosaki, partner of openly gay senator Ed Murray: "Ed and I have been together for 20 years now. When I think of marriage, my model has always been the 56 year marriage of my parents."
"I could never imagine the myriad of ways that Ed has tried to get me to cook potatoes," said Shiosaki in reference to Murray's Irish heritage.
10:27am - The majority of the opposition to marriage equality looks young - middle and high school students who were pulled from school to come witness the bill.
Senator Pam Roach accuses the Governor of planning to remove the religious protections from the Bill in place to ensure that the decision to wed same-sex couples lies with the Church. A bit silly since Gregoire helped author the bill and has championed the religious protections therein. A touch of fear mongering perhaps?
10:35am - Ken Hutcherson, official spokesperson of the Stand for Marriage Coalition (the anti-marriage equality campaign): "I want to eliminate the bible, as many have already. It's written on your heart to know the difference between good and evil. "I don't think god is excited about SB 6239."
Hutcherson goes on to accuse legislators of narrow-minded bigotry for standing in favor of Marriage Equality. This argument shifts quickly into the slippery slope towards polygamy.
10:41am - Now it's the Family Policy Institute of Washington's turn (guess which side they're on?). Spokesman Joseph Blackhom says that this should go to a public vote. Which is, of course, almost certainly what would happen should it pass.
10:45am - Jim Justin from the Governor's office again: "It's the right of the church to decide who gets married." That seems like a pretty clear cut answer to Senator Roach's nightmare doom scenario of the state forcing churches to wed same-sex couples. Also, considering that many churches already marry same-sex couples (although it's not legally binding), that logic should go both ways yes?
10:50am - Gene Scribner, there with her husband in support of the bill: "Our daughter Margie is gay. That's only part of who she is. We worry about our daughter experiencing discrimination and hate because of her sexuality."
"In her third year of college, students were targeted on campus through a series of hate crimes. We didn't know that Margie had also been targeted for being gay."
"As her parents, we want her to know how much pride we have in our daughter. Our wish is that Margie can live without fear and animosity."
"Why does our child's future have any less value than yours?"
11:04am - Self-described "concerned citizen" goes into FULL ON RANT MODE:
"The gay community is not responsible for this generation of fatherless children, but they will be responsible for the next one!"
"Churches are under attack!!"
Parts of the audience burst into applause. Others are surprised and dismayed considering that she approached the mic wearing a confusingly rainbow-like scarf.
11:16am - Mad props to Women's Action Commission Director at ASUW Anita Yandle for referencing people outside the gender binary. In Devin's words, "you could feel the collective toes curling of those opposed in the audience."
11:24am - An Olympia-based Pastor (opposing the bill) wins the award for most confusing interpretation of individual liberties in the context of a bill seeking to expand individual liberties: "My personal rights trump your personal rights unless they violate the law."
11:43am - Pretty stark contrast between two of the latest speakers:
First, an older man just claimed that homosexuals live half the lifespans of heterosexuals, and they spread aids.
Next, a 16 year old just approached the mic and said that he wants to marry the person he loves one day, and right now he can't do that in Washington.
11:53am - Uh oh. here come the obligatory NAMBLA references...
11:54am - Overflow on both sides of the Capitol rotunda. Lots of raucous applause outside because they aren't subject to the same civility rule.
12:00pm - "God didn't make Adam and Steve..."
12:03pm - Holy shit they got the 25th vote in the Senate! As it stands now the bill is set to pass! Big ups to Camano Islands' Mary Margaret Haugen for making the deciding vote!!
People are crying tears of happiness all around the rotunda.
Standing ovation for Haugen in hearing room 1!
12:13pm - Ed Murray and Jamie Pedersen, two leaders of the whole dealio:
12:15pm - Laurie Jinkins was just called the solo member of the lesbian mafia. She happily accepted the title.
Pedersen: "I want to re-emphasize that we fully expect for this to be on the ballot." Warning us to stay vigilant and continue telling our stories (and perhaps even join the Equality Team?)
12:45pm - Local Equality activists and darling couple Pete-e Petersen and Jane Abbott Lighty:
"In 2005, we had a beautiful wedding ceremony. Outside of the day I met Pete-e, I though that was the most beautiful day in our life. But today takes the cake."
1:15pm - From Devin: "Just heard homosexual fornicator over a loudspeaker outside the Capitol at the anti-equality rally." The less pleasant side of an otherwise great day.