the massachusetts constitutional convention was today, with a vote to add a question on the november 2008 state ballot allowing people to decide whether or not gay marriages should be banned again in massachusetts. if you recall (in case you forgot), massachusetts is the only state in the union that allows gay marriages. the vote to add the referendum required just 50 out of 200 state lawmakers to pass. "let the people vote!" was the slogan for those opposed to gay marriages, while those supporting it had "it's wrong to vote on rights." bruce and i showed up around noon, with anti-gay marriage people on the common side of beacon hill while the pro-gay marriage people were on the state house side.
the anti-gay marriage folks had a united front, most of them had the same signs and some even had matching t-shirts. the pro-gay marriage folks were more diverse, with a lot of hand-crafted signage, and there was actually a pile of extras for people to take up the cause along side everyone side.
if you don't know which side to root for, here's a trick: pick the side with the hottest demonstrators. that side was of course the pro-gay marriage contingency. the pro-gay marriage folks also seemed to be having more fun, carrying their message of equal rights with a smile, a blow from a bubble wand, or a swish of a rainbow flag. the anti-gay marriage faction were preaching a message of intolerance, much of which stems from religious teachings. their slogan seemed innocuous enough, "let the people vote," but that vote would be an attempt to take away the rights of gays to get married.
to be honest, i share some similar compassion with the anti-gay marriage people. i was brought up with the traditional idea that marriage is between a man and a woman, and i have a very romanticized notion of marriage being forever and happily ever after. but that's not the world we live in, with skyrocketing divorce rates and some couples choosing not to marry at all. so the bottom line is what's the harm in allowing gay people to get married? if you're arguing about the sanctity of marriage, take a good look at what straight couples have done to that sanctity.
one of the most entertaining thing we saw all day was a flamboyantly gay boy (with a flower in his hair) trying to get passing cars to honk their horns in support of gay marriages. prancing around the street, he'd approach cars in almost an conspiratorial whisper, "ma'am! excuse me! can you give me a 'toot toot'?" then pantomiming a horn honk with his hands. sometimes he'd get angry looks, or no response, but more often people were persuaded by his infectious energy and honk their horns in support.
20 minutes past 1pm word got out that the vote had been cast and the anti-gay marriage legislators had only gotten 45 votes, not enough to pass the referendum, so gay marriage is still legal in massachusetts. there was wild cheering and celebration, and people broke out into the national anthem. across the street, the "let the people vote" folks started to dissipate having lost their battle. soon afterwards bruce and i left the state house as well, he to a dentist appointment, me to chinatown for a late lunch.
i found out my father was actually coming into chinatown to get some supplies so i met him in front of chinatown cafe (where i got a spicy porkchop rice takeout) before we went to ming's market and back to cambridge.
in the evening julie and i went to the harvard museum for a lecture on dandelions. i noticed another parking ticket on my motorcycle (which i will hotly contest online once again). it was an interesting talk up to a point, i think the speaker was more used to talking with children and her findings didn't seem scientific enough, nor researched to the point where i couldn't find loopholes in her logic.
afterwards julie and i ventured to harvard square where i bought an issue of entertainment weekly to replace the one that never came this past weekend (one of my neighbors is secretly hording my magazine, may they wish i never find out who they are). julie bought almost $100 worth of baby gifts from black ink for her sister-in-law who's going to give birth to twins tomorrow (induction caesarean). we got takeout at that greek place and headed back to my place to watch the baseball game (red sox lost again, bad). after a gave julie a show-and-tell of all my camera lenses, i think i convinced her to buy a digital SLR as well for her slovenia trip.