The National Organization for Marriage had loud opposition at a bus tour stop in Madison.
Posted Tuesday, July 27, 2010 -- 5:25pm
By Zac Schultz
Madison: The National Organization for Marriage has spent the summer traveling from city to city putting on rallies in support of traditional marriage between a man and a woman.
Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Madison) says the script is the same for each rally. "They've been doing this in spots, not where they think they have supporters but where they think there will be a large opposition rally and then they tell you how intolerant the opposition is."
"Will we be silenced?" NOM President Brian Brown started talking about being shouted down even before the pro-gay marriage marchers even made it up the steps. "What the bus tour is doing is saying no, we will not be shouted down, we will not be intimidated."
Soon enough, the crowd surrounded the rally, and speakers had to shout into the microphone to be heard. "I'm here today because I know, with you, we speak for millions of Americans," says NOM Chairman Maggie Gallagher.
Katie Belanger, the Executive Director of Fair Wisconsin, defended the chanting even as it drowned out the opposition. "It was really important that our voices were heard today."
"Which one of Rush Limbaugh's four weddings are you defending?" a protester shouted through a bullhorn.
"We had a good message of tolerance and equality and other side was just trying to get a little attention," says Pocan. "I think they accomplished what they wanted to."
Pocan originally asked the protestors to not interrupt, but to give a hug instead. "It's hard. It's a passionate issue."
At one point the crowd started chanting, "You need a hug, a big gay hug."
In the end, both sides feel they proved their point.
"We've been saying all along there are going to be consequences to same-sex marriage," says Brown. "Well you just saw it, they truly believe that we do not have the civil right to stand up here and speak."
"I think it shows the passion that we have on our side," says Belanger.
I marched with the LGBTQ and allied community of south central Wisconsin, and it was AWESOME. There were only about forty people with the NOM folks, but at least two hundred of us. At first the protest organizers were discouraging us from getting closer to the NOM rally, but then some of us start walking up the Capitol steps anyway. The police were getting nervous at how many of us there were, especially with all the shouting, so they started telling people to move back away from the yellow police line around the NOM folks.
A couple of people and I stayed up close to listen and take pictures, and you know what? I heard nothing new from these people. They brought out the same old bullshit about kids needing a mom and a dad, and all of the Biblical arguments, and they went on and on about how we, the protestors, were yelling because we're Scared Of The Truth, whatever that means.
Their speakers included Bishop Robert Morlino, Pastor Ron Dobie of Christ the King Community Church of Madison, NOM President Brian Brown, Julaine Appling of Wisconsin Family Action, and the queen bee herself, Maggie Gallagher. Also, State Senator Glenn Grothman spoke, and he went on about how when we, the queers, hold rallies, no one ever shows up to shout us down. Well, Senator, that's probably because you know there's way more of us!
Here are all of my pictures from the day, although they're all out of order because technology and I don't get along sometimes.