“I’m a Citizen…I’m a Combat Veteran”

Rob Tisinai

August 13th, 2010

Last night I attended a sidewalk protest against the Ruth Institute at the L.A. Airport Marriott. The Ruth Institute is part of the National Organization for Marriage. Its goal is to indoctrinate college students with lies about gay and lesbian relationships turn college students into “traditional” marriage advocates. Ruthers were at the Marriott for their annual gala dinner. We were there, well, mainly just to be visible and offer a reality-based presence — you know, actual human beings — to counteract NOM’s abstract notions of gays and marriage. You know what I found when I arrived?

The Gay War Machine was nowhere in sight.

You know about the Gay War Machine. According to NOM, equality activists are a highly funded, tightly organized group of bitter, angry people who don’t really represent the gay community, who want to turn marriage into nothing more than a “registry of friendships,” and who aim to destroy religious freedom before the decade is out.

Instead, I found a scruffy, scrappy, motley group of about 45 meandering about (people came and went, but the total at any moment stayed around 45). We had a few preprinted signs, but mostly people had brought them from home or were hurrying to make them on the spot. Someone brought a megaphone, which we passed from person to person. I gave a short, rousing speech about NOM’s awful statement on marriage and love — if I do say so myself — but when they gave me back the megaphone later I started a chant of “Two Four Six Eight…” and then completely blanked on what to say next (the most unintentionally funny moment of the night). Meanwhile, one of the organizers was madly scrolling through his iPhone for call-and-response songs.

I was disappointed. NOM has lately been so vile that I wanted a Gay War Machine. But only for a while. Eventually I realized one simple fact:

This is who we are.

I'm a Citizen...I'm a Combat Veteran

We’re a bunch of gay, lesbian, and trans folk who gathered to protect our rights. We heard about the protest on Facebook and headed to the airport through rush hour traffic (an hour and forty-five minutes, mm-kay?). We weren’t a team of political operatives pulling down six-figure incomes. We weren’t financed by an endless stream of fundraising blasts. We didn’t have a rented bus and a professional sound system.

We were just a bunch of people. And after thirty minutes or so we were a tiny sidewalk community. We held up signs, chanted, introduced ourselves to each other. No tears, and a lot more laughter than anger. I can’t say exactly where NOM gets its notion of the Gay War Machine (my phrase, not theirs) but I’ve got a theory. We know for a fact they can’t see us. We know their ideas of us come entirely from their own imagination. It makes sense, then, that they view us a crazed bunch of minority militants because that’s what they are.

Fortunately, though, we don’t need a big Gay War Machine to achieve marriage equality. We’ve got scruffy, scrappy, motley us. And, hey, if that was good enough for the Founding Fathers…well, you know the rest.

Mark F.

August 13th, 2010

“We weren’t a team of political operatives pulling down six-figure incomes.”

No offense gay political operatives pulling down six figures and getting little or nothing accomplished!

Howard Randall Smith

August 13th, 2010

Should we have a big hudge rally? Judge Walker gave Prop Haters a week. I think he also gave those of us who support marriage equality one week plan a visible show of support for the Plaintiffs in Perry v. Schwarzenegger. Stay, or no Stay, I think we should Rally next Wednesday. I’ve never organized anything before though, so I’m spreading the word and asking around, “who knows how to throw a big party?”


August 13th, 2010

The Ruth Institute? Ruth as in the one whose words to another woman are used in het marriage services?

Emily K

August 13th, 2010


Yup. That’s the one. Most heteros don’t even know those loving words – used to represent a loving romantic union in their weddings – are said between 2 women.

Also, at the end of Ruth’s book, Naomi became a second mother (literally “Foster mother”) to Ruth’s child.

Timothy Kincaid

August 13th, 2010


Glad you were there. Due to the traffic you mentioned and the start time, I couldn’t make it.

Lindoro Almaviva

August 13th, 2010

That was beautiful. I think you are right, we will gain more by the sight of how truly unremarkable our day to day is compared to theirs. People have these wild ideas of gays as Dr. Evil without realizing that deep down he is just as uman and no different than they are

Regan DuCasse

August 14th, 2010

I’m out of town, visiting old friends. I want to be there when the decision comes about the stay.
Tim, dinner is on me. Name a date after the 24th.
And I’ll see if Rob can join us. Deal?

Timothy Kincaid

August 14th, 2010


Pick a time that is good for you and Rob and let me know.

Jim Burroway

August 14th, 2010

I’ll be in San Francisco after the 26th. Can we do it in San Francisco after the 26th? Can we?


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