Monday, November 17, 2008

Ending H8

I went to the protest at City Hall here in Manhattan on Saturday in support of gay marriage. When I got to Broadway around 1:30, all of the holding areas from the speakers' platform at Barclay Street (in front of the Woolworth Building) to Warren Street (in front of the Tweed Courthouse) were already completely filled—that's four city blocks. I couldn't really tell how many people were there: certainly short of the 10,000 people who protested Wednesday on the Upper West Side but when I had to leave about halfway through the event, people were still arriving.

I had come downtown from the East Village, so I walked all the way around to south end of the park only to find out the entrance for protesters was actually on the north side. My mistake turned out to be a good thing for me because I was able to stop and listen to a couple of the speakers before I had to make my way uptown (there was only enough sound system to allow the first couple of blocks to hear anything).

The biggest surprise of the afternoon was all of the passersby who stopped to watch and listen. I expected a lot of heckling and epithets from the sidelines—it's New York, after all—and while I'm sure there were plenty of yahoos voicing their disagreement with the protest, I didn't hear them. In fact, everyone I heard as I made my way up Broadway was calling out in support. Sadly, I know that wasn't the case at the events throughout the rest of the country on Saturday.

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