Jeff already has reported on our outing to the HRC-organized rally for gay marriage last night, about which our impressions largely are in sync. Turnout seemed high; a lesbian employee had predicted a small crowd, but the numbers looked pretty impressive to us, though it’s hard to tell since the space was not a large open arena. There were a lot of speakers, almost too many, and I’m still not sure why in the world they invited Republican DC Councilwoman Carol Schwartz, who bragged about the huge number of gay friends she has (“more than Madonna”) at the same time that she admitted that while she opposes a constitutional amendment she does not, in fact, support gay marriage, exhorting us to be happy with domestic partnership at the back of the bus rather than seeking marriage with the white folks up front. Feh.
The highlight of the evening, though, included an amazingly poised, thoughtful and intelligent 13-year-old Jake, who talked about his life with his two mothers, and the issues he and they face in the absence of a legal relationship between the two women. It was also amazing to look around and see the number of babies and young children in the crowd; Jeff and I walked in behind a cute young lesbian couple wheeling a stroller, and for a while stood next to two handsome young men carrying a baby. And it was a pleasant surprise to hear from two openly gay Republican elected officials–David Catania of DC and a cute goateed man, whose name and state I’ve regrettably forgotten [update, March 6: a friend of the latter has emailed me to remind me of the name, Karl Rohde from Oregon]–who noted that they would not be supporting W come fall.
It was a beautiful near-spring evening and, despite my sense sometimes that even after 16 years in DC I don’t know anyone, I saw at least a half-dozen friends and acquaintances in the crowd. It is disappointing, though, that the pre-Rally publicity was so sparse–it’s great that the turnout was so high, considering–and that there appeared to be zero coverage in the press; I watched the local 11:00 news last night for the first time in years, and there was nothing about it. Ditto in today’s Post. Still, I’m glad we were part of it.