This afternoon JH and I were down in Annapolis for a rally for civil marriage rights, along with talking with our delegates and senators to either thank them for the work they have done for the cause of equality or to tell them why they should join others in extending full rights and benefits to same-sex couples.
Sen. Paul Pinsky has always been an ally and has signed on, Del. Tawanna Gaines surprised me recently by also signing onto a bill to extend civil unions to same-sex couples. Del. Anne Healey wants to protect civil rights, but is still reconciling the idea of marriage with her own faith, since the Catholic church is not so supportive of that idea. Del. Justin Ross is more on board with the idea of same-sex marriage, but he is more about taking it one step at a time, and that would mean civil unions first. He says he's been engaging in dialog with a number of well known churches in his district to try and change the minds of folks there. As it stands, they actually have it on their list of issues to prevent the bills to extend any sort of rights or recognitions to GLBT couples from passing. Of course, because they are very much majority Democrat, it means walking that fine line so as not to alienate them. Ross is definitely a politician, but I'm hoping we can get him to take more of a risk and go for this. At least all of our politicians in our district talk to us.
JH's district has the infamous Don Dwyer, who is a rather hateful and ugly man, literally. Every year he introduces a bill to put it into the Maryland Constitution to ban any form of legal recognition of same-sex couples. Every year it has died in committee, but this year he's trying to invoke procedures so the bill will bypass the committee and go straight to the floor. He's also a real dickhead on other issues, so he's not well liked. In fact, he only lost by about 8 votes to be re-elected in 2006, and that was after 4 recounts. So I had a few letters from my church that I had been giving out to my elected officials. I walked by his office and was about to slip one under his door when lo and behold, Don Dwyer started walking down the hallway, which was funny because he was not supposed to be there today. So I just kept on walking, went down the hall, turned the corner, waited until he had walked away to wherever he was going, then walked back, slipped the letter under the door, and rejoined my group.
We caught up with the rest of the groups, headed out to dinner, then headed back home.
In the next few days, I plan to write up a follow-up letter to my politicians, thanking them for at least taking the time to meet with us.