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NOM speaks to another mostly-empty city plaza

Timothy Kincaid

July 23rd, 2010

Continuing to demonstrate itself to be the NOM Tour of Mostly-Empty City Plazas, the National Organization for Marriage’s tour stop in Columbus, Ohio, was surprisingly poorly attended.

As they moved out of the northeast and into more conservative Ohio, it was assumed that NOM’s rallies would begin to pick up attendance. They even brought out Maggie Gallagher, their big media star, to speak to the crowd at the State House south lawn. But the crowd didn’t show up.

The Tour Tracker reports that the NOMbies at the peak were about 30 and that protesters numbered about 120. Of course, NOM will report 60 supporters because it appears that their counting method is to simply multiply by two (the 19 or so in Annapolis became “about 50 supporters in attendance”).

In Columbus, police set up barricades behind which protesters were required to stand. The protesters chanted and blew whistles. While that is annoying to the speakers, I’m not sure exactly what it accomplished. There’s nothing really wrong with the “hey hey ho ho” chants, but I think it would be more effective to sing We Shall Overcome. Or really annoy NOM and get a few powerful tenors to belt out Ave Maria.

But for the most part they didn’t engage in Shocking! and Outlandish! behavior that would frighten the horses (and yes, there were horses; the police were mounted.) One young lady crossed the line and was reportedly confrontational towards the people attending the NOM rally before being arrested. That was unfortunate and if NOM got any pictures or video of her, she will undoubtedly be the star of their next “I’m a victim” video.

The protest was by far the most interesting part of NOM’s event – even to NOM. Their website has no pictures of their own crowd, deciding instead to post one of the marriage supporters.

One odd thing: Brian Brown was missing from the festivities, and rumor is that he flew to California. No one seems to know why. Maybe he was too bored and depressed from no one showing up to hear him speak.

UPDATE: Here are the two sides of the story about the young lady who was arrested:

NOM’s version:

One woman, before she was escorted out of the rally by police, went through the crowd offering her hand to NOM supporters before ripping it away and cursing in their faces.

Maggie Gallagher’s version:

The protestors seemed a pretty angry lot, but mostly respected the line. (The Ohio cops were going to make sure of that!) One woman tried to incite folks to storm the podium again, but the police made that seem like a pretty bad idea.

I love cops.

Holly Hahn’s version:

This is what happened. I accidentally wandered into the NOM side of the protest. Seeing some opportunity for amusement, I wandered around inside the barricades shaking hands and introducing my self as a homosexual. One older man got upset and grabbed me and tried to wrestle me away, the cops told me to go behind the barricade and i did. Then the cops told me to leave and I refused. They dragged me away, cuffed and charged me with disorderly conduct and obstructing. I cooperated once arrested. I need ANY AND ALL pics and videos, to prove I was shaking hands, not “grabbing arms” please repost!

To clarify” I parked in the parking garage and was unsure which side of the statehouse I need to be. There were NO barricades the way I entered. I didn’t actually realize I was in NOM territory until I noticed the logo on the podium.

p.s absolutely nothing happened to the old man who grappled with me, but i think they recorded me cussing at him to GTFO me, unfortunately. I am truly sorry if my um..unrestrained comments while being assaulted are used in a way that is detrimental to the cause. The fact is I am woman, 5’0 and there was a man grabbing and grappling with me and police yelling at me. I was scared and angry.

p.p.sYes, It wasn’t premeditated. I have done many many protests and actions over the years, but really this time I just wandered into the wrong side and decided to run with it. I can’t let anyone go through their life saying they haven’t met a queer. It’s kind of my policy. So I started shaking hands.
Putting myself in the public eye doesn’t scare me a bit. I am who I am.
I refuse to be afraid and unlike the anonymous donors to Prop 8 and other hate legislation, I am true enough to my beliefs to put my real name on them.
My name is Holly Hahn. I am a lesbian. I am not scared of police, social disapproval or bigots stalking me.
I believe that the time for Mr/s Nice Gay is over. I’m tired of endless attacks against our lives. I don’t want them to feel safe behind the barricade- why should they get the privilege of feeling safe when their words or hate make our brothers and sisters UNsafe?
I will cross barricades again, and I am hoping to organize a courthouse sit in on my court date

UPDATE TWO

I bring you two messages from the National Organization for Marriage. The first is from Maggie Gallagher:

My message to the protestors: Hate is not a family value. The 62 percent of Ohioans who came together across lines of race, creed and color to vote for marriage are not haters, and it’s wrong to portray them, or the American people that way.

The second I bring from NOM’s Facebook page. The site is heavily edited by NOM’s associates and only the messages that the administrators want there remain. What follows is the comments to this post. (I left nothing out so as not to appear to be cherry picking the worst)

Daniel Rowinski: ugh i find out my city of Cleveland will host the gay games of 2014.

Theresa Preece: The Gay Games?

John Ozanich: Gay Olympics

Theresa Preece: Yes, I know. SO many comments….

Danielle Burke
: That is extremely disappointing :(

John Ozanich: all about money

Tara J Later: Oh, now that is beyond funny. The thing that comes to mind is the javelin throw on the movie ” Revenge of the Nerds”. Let’s get the aerodinamics right. I’m rotfl, big time.

Minister Dixon: ‎”The Gay Games?” Yeah, now I’ve heard everything. How are Gay Games different from other games?

John Acker: Do the males (they are anything but men) compete in accessorizing and lisping?

John Ozanich: you ever see Jesse Owens do a 500 yard sprint wearing a feathered pink boa ?

Tara J Later: @ Min. Dixon….I think I have the answer to that question. The uniforms are tighter and shorter, to make sure they show every part of the body as much as possible. That’s the difference. And the uniforms will be flaming loud.

Minister Dixon: John do you want my turkey sandwich to come back up? LOL

Minister Dixon: @ Tara, if it’s anything like their parades, you may have a point there :)

Tara J Later: I do have to admit, that everyone of my homosexual friends have great taste in style… Only one is on the loud side, but none of them want marriage. It’s quite interesting that they aren’t on the band wagon.

Nick Jones: Do these games consist of slapping fights, sex in public and who can say ‘hey’ the gayest?

Nick Jones: Do these games consist of slapping fights, sex in public and seeing who can say ‘hay’ the gayest?

John Ozanich: no, that’s Congress, Nick…

Minister Dixon: LOL, hey John, you’re not well, hahaha

And now my message to the Maggie: Hate is not a family value. It is true that not all of the 62 percent of Ohioans who voted to deny equality to their gay neighbors are haters, but many of the people who support the National Organization for Marriage and who participate at your Facebook page are.

Comments

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Lindoro Almaviva
July 23rd, 2010 | LINK

Or really annoy NOM and get a few powerful tenors to belt out Ave Maria.

Not to brag, but I know 3 versions: Schubert’s (in Italian and Latin), Bach-Gounod’s and Verdi’s (from Otello) so if any of the organizers from the Indianapolis counter protest wants to put this theory to the test send me an email through my blog (just click on my name) and I’ll be happy to see how we can stop that nonsense fast.

I’ll be happy to also offer Malotte’s Lord’s Prayer with a pretty decent Bb at the end that is sure to get the speakers (human and electronic) to stop for a second.

Your call, just email. Not kidding.

L. Junius Brutus
July 23rd, 2010 | LINK

How about The Times They Are A-Changing? You’d almost think that it was written in this time for this very issue.

AJD
July 23rd, 2010 | LINK

Wow, she is a “big” media star. Maggie Gallagher, NOM spokescow…

Regan DuCasse
July 23rd, 2010 | LINK

We Shall Overcome is a great choice. Tell you why.
I had an incredible moment and was moved so emotionally the last time I heard it that I had to write Andrew Sullivan and he posted my essay on his blog.

It was during the student protest at TIANNAMEN SQUARE.
It would be hard to tell you what that meant to me, so hear it sung so beautifully and meaningfully from people whose first language wasn’t even English.
But there it was, clear and resounding around the world!

We shall overcome.
And Andrew’s answer?

“And so we shall..”

If anyone has a line on Courage Campaign or any other counter demonstrators, PLEASE have them sing the anthem of those in need of equality and justice.
I know what it did for me, imagine NOM trying to spin THAT!

Regan DuCasse
July 23rd, 2010 | LINK

Oh and, I really wish I could have heard some audio on what Mags was saying here. It might be the sun in her eyes, but most of her speeches and interviews show her wearing a very self satisfied cream fed smile on her face all the time.

So inviting to wipe it right off too, know what I’m sayin’?

homer
July 23rd, 2010 | LINK

I think YMCA or It’s Raining Men would be really festive songs to sing. Better yet, set up a karoake machine at the anti-NOM protest!!! I would live to hear Timothy Kincaid and Jim Burroway singing Love Shack.

James B
July 23rd, 2010 | LINK

I was there in Columbus and I was shocked by their poor attendance. Maybe 20-30 at most? The demonstrators did sing the National Anthem and were a bit loud at times, but other than that, were peaceful and did nothing outlandish or hostile.

The woman arrested was Holly Hahn. Here’s her side of the story:
http://www.facebook.com/#!/note.php?note_id=425956741120&id=688982313&ref=mf

James B
July 23rd, 2010 | LINK

Here’s a photo from the Columbus rally of NOM’s supporters: http://www.facebook.com/#!/photo.php?pid=30975275&id=1330964170&fbid=1366326201465

The speaker’s up there, as you can see, so that, folks, is it.

Timothy Kincaid
July 23rd, 2010 | LINK

Thanks James B

Sandusky
July 23rd, 2010 | LINK

I’m glad that Maggie Gallagher agrees that hate is not a family value. Are the Facebook comments moderated? If so, I do wonder why those comments were allowed.

(For symmetrical reasons, I really wish people would refrain from comments here, and other pro-equality blogs, about anyone’s appearance, including weight. It’s not morally consistent.)

Candace
July 23rd, 2010 | LINK

“How about The Times They Are A-Changing? You’d almost think that it was written in this time for this very issue.”

Here’s another oldie but goodie that seems to have been written just for the summer of NOM:

SUPPOSE THEY GAVE A WAR, AND NOBODY CAME?

Richard Rush
July 23rd, 2010 | LINK

Our side needs to bus in the nearest gay men’s chorus to these NOM tour venues.

——

Since NOM was in Columbus today, I expected them to bring in some extra star-power to help whip their “crowd” into an anti-gay frenzy. The lovely and demented Linda Harvey is based right there in Columbus.

Timothy Kincaid
July 23rd, 2010 | LINK

I love both the idea of gay men’s chorus and of karaoke. Also, Lindoro please do contact Marriage Equality to find out who is organizing the counter protest.

Emily K
July 23rd, 2010 | LINK

Lindoro, I hope you are taken up on your offer! please do! everyone could use a good vocal concert anyway, and classical music is wonderful to share. :)

Jude
July 23rd, 2010 | LINK

I just want to thank you for a fantastic article and for exposing the horrible comments that are continually made on Protect Marriage: One Man, One Woman.

They ban anyone who tries to engage in civil dialogue. Many of us want to engage in a conversation with them but they do not allow it.

As for their moderators, they take down their own hate comments only because they fear being flagged. NOM wants to take away a lot more than the right to marry.

B John
July 23rd, 2010 | LINK

Maybe whoever it is that holds the purse strings has called Bryan in a for a dressing down. This whole marriage tour thing has been such a gigantic flop, it really just makes them look silly.

It could be Bryan was in Califonia (or whever) being told by the person paying NOM’s bills that he’d better get his act together, or he’d lose his chief supporter (whoever that is).

Someone has to be paying the bills for that group.

Rev. Michael V. Hunt
July 23rd, 2010 | LINK

Hello, folks. I was one of the co-organizers for today’s event. I just wanted to take a moment to address a couple of points, if I may.

- The whistles were actually just a whistle, brought by one particularly spirited participant. She was blowing on it for maybe 5-10 minutes near the beginning of the event, and maybe once or twice after that. It wasn’t a specifically planned protest method, and many people on our side found it a bit annoying as well, however well-intentioned.

- I was going to start a round of “We Shall Overcome” a couple of times, but always seemed to get sidetracked at the last minute by some new development. I was serving as a video documentarian for the event, so I was running around like a chicken with its head cut off. It is a brilliant idea, though, and I hope people do that at future protests. We did sing a little “We Are Family” but some of the younger attendees didn’t know the words. (Scandalous, I know, but…well, kids. I was just happy to see them there.) We also closed the show, so to speak, with an inspiring rendition of the national anthem.

- This event was literally pulled together in a matter of days, so it wasn’t the most organized protest in the world. We didn’t have everything planned out to the second, but we were fortunate enough to have drawn an intensely passionate and eloquent group of people of all ages. I am incredibly proud of everyone who came today. They were positive and inspiring, and I was honored to be among them under the blazing sun.

For what it’s worth, I totally wish I’d thought of the gay men’s chorus idea five days ago. We might have been able to make it happen if I had. I’ll definitely remember it next time. Regardless, I want to congratulate everyone on a job well done.

Ed W
July 23rd, 2010 | LINK

At Massachusetts demonstrations during the struggle to keep marriage equality legal, we’d often sing “America the Beautiful.” After all, our side represents the American values of liberty and justice for all.

CockyZ
July 24th, 2010 | LINK

A self-proclaimed Christian sent me this response (all in caps) to a comment that I left on the YouTube video of NOM’s Marriage Tour stop in Albany, New York.
@cockyz WHO THE F*CK IS THIS??? STOP USING JESUS NAME TO JUSTIFY YOUR F*CKIN CORRUPTED ACTIONS!!!! YOU UCKIN F*G!!! THE ONLY PROPFESSIOANL HELP YOU NEED IS YOU!! IM NOT THE ONE F*CKIN PEOPLE IN THR ASS!!! YEAH, KNOW WHO YOUR F*CKIN TALKING TO BEFORE YOU TALK SH!T TO SOMEONE YOU DONT KNOW, A CHRISTIAN PERSON!! YEAH, WE DONT SUPPORT F*GS!!! PROTECT MARRIAGE, ONE MAN ONE WOMEN BITCH!!! YOU LIKE IT OR NOT!! NOW F*CK OFF!

James B
July 24th, 2010 | LINK

CockyZ: All the more reason to make these protests spirited but rational, peaceful and not confrontational. Let’s be honest: there are kooks on both sides of this debate.

I believe our cause is just, but this means that we have to take the high road with these things, as difficult as it is. There’s tremendous power in peaceful resistance.

I do also like the idea of organized “sing-ins”. I think we tried in Columbus a couple times and even managed to get out a version of the Anthem, from what I recall. An in-tune version in harmony would be even more impressive (no offense guys! :-P love ya all!)

Greg
July 24th, 2010 | LINK

“The 62 percent of Ohioans who came together across lines of race, creed and color to vote for marriage are not haters,”

Oh, Mags. Just because there are a lot of people, doesn’t make your argument correct. That’s the Argumentum ad populum logical fallacy.

bearchewtoy75
July 24th, 2010 | LINK

“Tara J Later: I do have to admit, that everyone of my homosexual friends have great taste in style… Only one is on the loud side, but none of them want marriage. It’s quite interesting that they aren’t on the band wagon.”

Who exactly are these gay people who don’t want marriage? I know alot of gay people, and I have yet to hear one of them say they don’t want it. Perhaps, not for themselves (and that’s a very small minority), but they don’t want to deny it to other people!

Jonathan
July 24th, 2010 | LINK

It’s been just beautiful to watch NOM’s Summer of prejudice tour fall apart.

I believe “We shall Overcome” or a group prayer would be highly effective. Regardless of religious beliefs it would be fighting fire with fire.

Timothy Kincaid
July 24th, 2010 | LINK

Rev. Michael,

Thanks for the first hand report and for the effort of putting together a response to NOM.

I love that you guys sang the National Anthem. Especially since they decorated their bus with a flag theme.

Timothy Kincaid
July 24th, 2010 | LINK

bearchewtoy75,

It is highly unlikely that Tara has any “homosexual friends” in her inner circle. Likely she means the guy who cuts her hair, the cousin of her neighbor’s sister who she sees at the neighbor’s christmas party, and that guy she knew in high school.

And it is very unlikely that any of her “homosexual friends” actually confide their feelings, opinions, or marital intentions to her. Rather, Tara has decided that these people for whom she has no personal animus MUST not want marriage because only the bad gays want marriage.

Richard Rush
July 24th, 2010 | LINK

I posted the following comment on this page of the NOM Tour Tracker site:

We need to have gay men’s choruses compete with NOM at some of these tour venues. These choruses are some of the best resources we have.

On August 13, NOM is scheduled to be in Harrisburg, PA. Philadelphia has a wonderful gay men’s chorus. Let’s take up a collection and send them out there on a bus. It’s not that far away.

On August 15, NOM is scheduled to be in Washington, DC. There is a gay men’s chorus right there in Washington. Get them to the venue.

Other venues may or may not have choruses within a reasonable distance, but I don’t know about those places.

—–

I don’t mean to ignore lesbians, but I don’t know if they have any choruses.

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