Eric Leven

Contrast: NY marriage rallies

Filed By Eric Leven | May 18, 2009 6:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Fundie Watch, Marriage Equality, Politics, The Movement
Tags: gay marriage, marriage, marriage equality, New York, same-sex marriage

The contrast between two marriage rallies yesterday in NYC couldn't have been greater. ELevenNYprotest.jpgIn the early part of the day I jumped uptown to attend an anti-marriage equality rally organized mostly by a group of Hispanic and Latino church goers who despite their insistence that Jesus loves us feel very strongly that gays do not deserve equal rights.

The number of people defending the gay name and standing up for marriage equality was small if not minute. A smattering of the usual faces with a dab of young lesbians. Small signs and a few banners. We were outnumbered 10,000 to 30.

We stood at our barricades, mostly in silence, and held our signs as men and women, old and young, many accompanied by a small child yelled, "One man and one woman!" "Read the bible!" "Jesus loves you!" and "God bless you!"

NYMarriageEquality.jpgAs a Jew, all this Jesus/God bless you stuff is always hard to stomach but when you see first hand the degree to which these people truly dislike you and use God's name to defend their twisted logic it leaves the feeling of a sucker punch to the soul. Their "God bless you" and "Jesus loves you!" reeked of being inauthentic and that was later proved when the sound of their mass applause carried up several blocks into our ears. It sounded like an army preparing for a battle. Combative, charged and ghastly.

It's been a long time since I felt that kind of hate. It was ugly and simple in it's color. Black and white. The people rejoicing in their efforts to keep gays as second class citizens were bleak and boring, scared and traditional.
ThankYouGovernor.jpgOld world. They showed nothing but commitment to keeping this world as colorless and dry as possible. As I write this I'm still trying to shake the shiver of hearing their roaring applause traveling upwind. It was clear sooner than later that this was an anti gay rally and had little to do with marriage.

But the protest ended and those of us remaining shook hands and went our separate ways until the pro-marriage rally later in the day. Weighed down by what I just experienced I was craving a distraction. Some reminder that despite the mass of people I just witnessed that there are people who love us, who care for us and would like to see us equal. EricandElmo.jpgI ran into Elmo in Time's Square and he helped cheer me up. We both thanked Governor Paterson for supporting marriage equality and a smile returned to my face.

At 5PM at 45th St. and 6th Ave. a mass of young and old, gay and straight, white, Black, Asian, Latino, Everything gathered in celebration of equal rights and marriage. Immediately the crowd was everything the morning crowd wasn't. We were full of life, optimism and energy. Color flowed out from everyone as did hugs and handshakes, smiles and "how are ya's." Our signs were smart and creative. This is when everything started to feel a lot better because I was reminded what gay is and why we're fighting for equal rights. Because we matter. NYmarriageprotest.jpgBecause our color and contribution to this country, to this world, matters and I'll be damned if the color we bring to the fabric of humanity goes unnoticed and remains unequal.

While the morning's anti-marriage rally featured men in suits and black clothing ours featured vibrancy and singing and the perfect combination of comedy and anger. It was all a very nice moment and to have our Governor and Mayor speak to us, in support of us, gave a certain validation that things are going to change. Those people at the morning's rally will be on the losing end of this fight. We aren't going anywhere any time soon and I know we will keep rallying, keep screaming and keep bringing color to this world until our voices are heard and our lives and families appreciated.


Eric also blogs at Knucklecrack.

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Thank you Eric for sharing your experience with us. I'm not from New York but I am doing my part to help get marriage LEGAL for same-sex couples there by calling and emailing New York State Senators.

We need to keep hammering away at the fact that their religion should not receive favor by the government over those that accept and affirm GLBT marriage equality. Keep sending letters, emails and phone calls to the NY state senate. And in those letters, emails and phone calls please don't forget to remind the senators about passing GENDA as well as the marriage equality bill.

All the fundies and wingnuts are apoplectic over marriage equality legislation and aren't paying any attention to gender nondiscrimination. It's a perfect opportunity to pass the bill under their radar. The trouble is, the Senate, as well as much of the GLB community, seems to have forgotten GENDA as well. Please remind them that BOTH bills are vital!

I'm most saddened - and frightened - by your description of the sound of hate thundering down the street blocks away from the demonstrators. It sends chills up my spine. Equality is crucial and we've got to keep working for it but I want the hate to stop too. Especially hate in the name of any God.

christophe | May 18, 2009 11:50 PM

They are all ignorant simpletons who obviously believe in their hatred for others. But I think change is going to come, even if it isn't as quick as some would like, things ARE changing in this country and these fanatics, who themselves are in the minority are eventually going to realize no one is listening to their hate.

Strangely enough (considering what a large group Diaz put together), more than one poll of NY state has shown that Latino and Hispanic residents (unlike African-Americans) are more for legalizing same-sex marriage than against it.

Brad Bailey | May 19, 2009 6:38 AM

This article made me stop and think about gay people as a single cultural identity for the first time in years. What a beautiful phrase: "the color we bring to the fabric of humanity."

I really wish I could have been beside you to be #31. It sucks living in Indiana and missing all the cool stuff every time.

I was I was #31 as well, and I'm am here. I made the second rally, which was a beautiful experience (HAIR singing 'Let the Sun Shine In' gave me chills as the crowd sang along.)

But now I feel bad because it didn't even dawn on me to attend the other one. *sigh*

Sorry Taylor Siluwe. After some of your past actions, I don't choose to have you representing me at all. (Sorry, Bilerio, but if we don't police our own..we'll have no credibility).

I think if I were not gay, I'd turn gay.....just to piss off the fucking Christian assholes.

Good article Eric. I have been looking for one that seems to properly reflect the day for GLBTQA's (I'm and A). Sharing on fb.

Ghastly. Shameful. Those dispicable people distorting religion are in the minority. I went to the marriage equality gathering and AIDWALKNY. Maybe the majority of people were too busy to attend or perhaps a lot of people are just not interested in giving people who profess love and show hate and judgement to anyone who is different from their own simple ideology any credence. At least that is my take on it. I want laws that protect me from these idiots. They can rant all they want. Paterson, Bloomberg, Quinn etc. were all inspirational.