My high-quality vid is still uploading, but I have this lower-res version for those excited to see the flopsweat on Brian Brown’s brow ASAP. So the background first — I did this on my lunch hour (kind of a long lunch since it takes about a 1/2 hour to get to Raleigh), and I drove a work colleague with me who hadn’t been to one of these fundie rallies before. Robyn was quite excited as I described the decomposing influence of NOM as its tour has worn on.
It’s hot here this week, so it was over 95 degrees and when we drove down Morgan Street, which was the dividing street between our anti-NOM rally and NOM’s zombies, our side had signs saying “Honk for Equality” which was the rallying call to drown out NOM’s speakers, which was quite effective in rattling Brown. We found a parking space a block away (!) and I quickly got up the block, turned the camera on, and got a pass of the protesters and then marched up to the NOM crowd and zeroed in on Brown, who was just getting warmed up…you may hear my editorial “OMG” comments in the background.
Brian Brown urged supporters this afternoon to stand and urge their legislators to support a constitutional amendment to protect marriage: “If you move forward with a marriage amendment in North Carolina, you will show the government where we stand.” The way will not always be easy, however: “In Atlanta, some attempted to attack Dr. Alveda King and smear her – she greeted it with love.”
And for even greater effect, there were two NOM supporters behind me at various points getting the spirit inside them and they would yell out “Yes! Praise Jesus” or some such nonsense in response to the speaker spouting outright homophobic blather. I was having a hard time not cracking up at the sad spectacle.
As I said in my earlier post (“NC: NOM’s pathetic stop in Raleigh – another FAIL-O-RAMA“), the National Organization for Marriage continues its disastrous tour that has crashed and burned repeatedly here in the South, with today’s embarrassment in Raleigh a festive smackdown of bigotry. There was no organized effort on our side — all of it was grassroots activism via Facebook groups that turned out over 200 people. On NOM’s side – maybe 50. It may have been even less, since some of the people I counted looked to be lunchtime curious onlookers, not the hardcore faithful. And there were a lot of cops, as in way too many for the given task, and there was a large media presence, so when you see the photos in the slideshow of the shaded area where NOM is, that thin crowd if you take tha latter away, would be pitiful.
There were several
stand-up comic natural marriage advocates present, including was the head of the local bigot parade in this state, the North Carolina Family Policy Council, Bill Brooks and Mark Creech, Executive Director of the Christian Action League of North Carolina. Creech was particularly entertaining.
Ian Palmquist, the executive director of Equality North Carolina was at the rally and I grabbed him for an interview to ask him about the reaction to the grassroots demonstration and NOM’s weak, bizarre stop in our state.
When my colleague Robyn got a glimpse of Brown as the event was breaking up, she said:
“Oh, my he has a history, doesn’t he?
You mean as he’s in the closet?
Who on earth is he kidding? There’s no way he’s straight. He’s a desperate man.
Now what happened next was beyond surreal. This middle-aged woman with a floppy hat on and a clipboard in her hand, looking a bit wild-eyed, came over and asked us if we wanted to sign up for some “scientifically-based information on marriage.” Robyn and I looked at each other and knew exactly where this was going. I said:
Pam: Scientific information? What are you talking about?
Fundie: I’m with The Ruth Institute (a “project of the National Organization for Marriage) and I have literature I can share with you…
Pam: I’m sorry, I’m not interested…I’m married to a woman.
PREGNANT PAUSE…FUNDIE JAW OPEN. Clearly she thought I was straight and on her side.
Robyn: I am married to a woman as well.
PREGNANT PAUSE…FUNDIE JAW OPENING WIDER. Oh NOES, her Gaydar is broken for sure! A fly could have entered and buzzed around in her piehole. Finally she regains her composure and says…
Fundie: You’re marriage is not real. You’re not married in the state of NC.
Pam: No, you’re right. But when I go to visit my relatives in NY, I’m married. If I go to Iowa, I’m married, if I go to Massachusetts I’m married…
Fundie (interrupting, voice shaking): Your marriage is a legal fraud, that doesn’t matter, what matters is natural marriage.
Pam (interrupting): My marriage is not a fraud…and I don’t need your literature.
Fundie (turning and walking away, head exploding in anger): You’re being rude…
Pam: Hey you’re the one who came up to me first…(laughing).
Robyn and I laughed the entire ride back to work because this woman 1) pegged us both as straight and kindred spirits, 2) clearly hasn’t run into this “problem” before, and 3) had a meltdown that was priceless.
The also random oddities about the event today.
While I halfway expect to get fan mobbed at Netroots Nation, I really don’t expect that down here at home. When I walked up to the corner to shoot more video, a whole bunch of people demonstrating were yelling out my name and cheering, and saying hi.
Of course this was a bit embarrassing, because I’m standing here next to my co-worker who knows me as the IT Manager at Duke Press, a position that clearly isn’t what is causing the commotion. The old alter ego thing, worlds colliding.
But I know that the greeting was genuine, and I do like meeting readers, so I waved and yelled out hi and crossed the street over to them and spoke to those who wanted to say hello or take photos with me. Sigh. I guess my days of local anonymity are numbered.
Anyway, when I went back across the street to do more NOM taping, I’m just walking all the way up to the front with the media (I had no credentials) walked around the side of the speaker stand, getting good shots. I go back across to our side to take photos of the rainbow rally. I do this a few times and then I run into one of those attending on our side and he alerts me that the police had chased him away from the NOM zombie side. Apparently they did not want anyone on the pro-equality side anywhere near where they had their permit to speak.
Well I was all up NOM’s butt taping and none of the cops came up to me to say anything, even though I was clearly shooting on the conflicting sides and wasn’t designated as press. That was really strange. I’m not complaining, but I thought I stuck out like a sore thumb. Then again, if that fundie with the clipboard was fooled…