Saturday, November 15, 2008

500 brave the cold in Kansas City to protest for marriage equality

Starting the rally with a convocation.

Sen. Jolie Justus

Kansas City School Board Member Airick Leonard West.

Lining the Street near The Plaza.

Cheering for horn honking gay-rights supporters.

Brrrrrrrr.... I just got back from the demonstration in Kansas City for marriage equality, and I have to admit that I'd much rather have been protesting in someplace a bit warmer. The rally started with sunshine and brisk winds and ended long after it had clouded over and started spitting pellets of ice on us.

My friend Colleen and I had driven into KC from Lawrence, and we were both thrilled that we attended. Colleen spoke for many, I think, when she said after the rally that she felt better for having made the trip, broken her silence and stood up for her rights.

At the rally, a United Methodist minister gave the convocation. Representatives of the Kansas-Missouri ACLU, the Lesbian and Gay Community Center of Kansas City, PROMO and GLSEN are among those who spoke. Kansas City Councilmember Beth Gottstein also revved up the crowd.

However, the speakers who energized the crowd the most were Jim MacDonald of the Four Freedoms Democratic Club, Missouri state Sen. Jolie Justus, D-Kansas City, and Airick Leonard West, a member of the Kansas City, Mo., School Board. West wasn't originally on the list of speakers, but asked to added after showing up in the crowd. Justus took to the stage shouting that she was proud to be a senator and an out lesbian. West was greeted with a roar when he declared that gay rights ARE civil rights.

After the rally ended, we lined the streets with our signs and waved and clapped as passing drivers honked in support. There were a handful of anti-gay demonstrators, and I do mean a tiny handful. I only saw three or four shivering with their signs.

By the way, the crowd estimate is mine.

UPDATE -- I forgot to note that several people who spoke like Gottstein and West identified themselves as straight supporters. I know other straight supporters were in the crowd. I saw young and old there.


Nancy Jane Moore said...

I understand 2,000 people rallied in Austin. I intended to be there, but there wasn't much advance notice about the Austin rally and I mistakenly got the idea that it was Sunday rather than Saturday. Sigh.

Burnt Orange Report covered the Austin rally and the Austin American-Statesman had a nice story as well.

Obviously, a few defeats here and there are not going to derail the fight for same sex marriage and other civil rights.

kimba said...

20,000 here in San Diego, and we had the opposite problem - record heat.

Wonderful post! We'll get there, I know it.

Matt said...

I think it should've been in Independence: