Yesterday I traveled to Annapolis to participate in Equality Maryland's lobby day. This is my fourth year of talking to my state reps about why all same-sex couples should have the same rights and privileges that heterosexual couples have. I'll be frank, I was resistant to the idea of going again because it felt like it was going to be the same old song and dance that I have been hearing at both the rally and from my elected reps. However, my attitude would change as the night went on.
The one thing that did get me to go this year was the fact that the speaker at the rally was going to be openly gay Bishop Gene Robinson. I had always wanted the chance to meet him. Also since my church was organizing to attend lobby day, I felt I should go. Thing is, I am glad to see when my church does go because members from all walks of life go; all of them being supportive of the idea of equal rights for all. I am always impressed to see the folks who do go. As a bonus, my priest also came along and it turns out that she now lives in my legislative district.
We met at church and carpooled down to Annapolis. I was one of the drivers as well. We took the shuttle down to the State House and met at the Lawyers Mall where the rally was to begin. Bishop Robinson eventually arrived and he actually came over to us because he knows Connie! We got to meet him, shake his hand, and a few pictures of us with the Bishop were taken as well. I'll post them when I get a copy.
The rally started and we heard from the various speakers, including the Bishop. He had an excellent speech about how far we have come, but there is still work to be done. Along with that he says that we should take the Bible back because our stories are in there. We have had similar experiences that the people have faced in the old and new testament, and for far too long, there have been people who have used it to spread a narrow minded view of how people should be. It was a most excellent speech.
After the rally we went and met with our state reps, and it was a very good meeting. My reps, instead of being more non-committal about the bills to provide equal rights and protections for same-sex couples, transgendered people, and same-sex parents, they actually said that if the bills make it out of committee and to the floor, they will get behind them. Thank god, we finally have more of an answer out of them! Now to start working on the committee members so they will consider the bill and bring them to the floor.
After the meeting we went to dinner. My $10 a month that I spend for Verizon Navigator came in handy because I was able to search for the restaurant we wanted and get walking directions right over there. My group definitely loved me for that. We went to the Rams Head Tavern and enjoyed a nice warm dinner by the fire, which was needed after our bit of time standing out in the cold.
So overall, it actually ended up being a good lobby day. This time around though I am going to work to continue the dialogue that has been started with my reps and try to start dialogue with other state reps now. It can't hurt to try.