It was better than I expected. While the bus ride was good, in various ways, it was not the best part, after all. (It was mostly sleeping and watching movies I had seen - Rent and Brokeback Mountain. And some talking.)
Yes, the talks were boring. But I discovered a lot of people that I will specifically vote for. (Senators Joseph L. Bruno, Marc A. Coppola; Assemblymen Daniel J. O'Donnell, Helene E. Weinstein, Sam Hoyt, Deborah J. Glick, Sheldon Silver; and Elliot Spitzer for Governor. If you're interested. Good for my future reference, anyway.)
The most fun part was simply sitting at the tables talking with the other Buffalo people who had gone. Interestingly, most of the gays who were there were married (in one form or another). Except the kids. There was a pair of boys of maybe 15 to 17, and a high-school girl. The college student was married. I was the only straight, but instead of feeling isolated, they made me feel very welcome.
Michael told me a 'cute' story. When he and Dave got married 12 years ago, another pair (also present), Wendy and Madelaine, were married the week before; and the press had kind of a heyday covering these unusual events so close together. They showed up unannounced while Mike and Dave were setting up for the reception. Mike said he was arranging flowers while Dave was setting out tableware - so stereotypical - and the newspaper not only took a picture of that, but featured it prominently on the front page. Dave hadn't been 'out' before then!
I asked whether Dave was sorry about that, and Mike said it had actually turned out for the best.
But By Damn! my voice actually *was* heard!
They had set up for us to speak with our congressmen. We were told that often we would find only staff, but that was okay, since the congressmen pay attention to what they say. Our first appointment was with Sam Hoyt, which we had to rush, because Mark Coppola had to see us early, because of an unexpected appointment. That was okay, since Sam Hoyt is kind of like preaching to the choir - he's been behind gay rights for years. And we only saw his staff anyway.
Senator Mark Coppola was an emergency fill-in in February. I still don't know why, but he was kind of rushed into office, and is really new to the whole thing. So no one knew how he felt about matters and how he would vote.
He was a very pleasant surprise. Took an interest in each individual, and took time to explain how he felt about things and why he may or may not vote for certain things. He asked for each name and why we were there, and I managed to be last. Most told him that they were married and gave their reason for being there as 'marriage equality' since that is what's basically up for consideration, in several of myriad forms. I said I'm a straight grandmother and I'm there because I believe that in this country there should be total equality for everyone. Seems kind of obvious to me, but there was some pleased surprise expressed by several in the room.
Later in the meeting, when the 'leaders' were trying to get him to commit on how he would vote I asked to say something, and said to Mark that I realized that his primary goal had to be whatever would get him reelected in November, but ...
I said, "If this were 1962 and all of these constituents in this room were black, how would you feel about it a couple years down the road if you voted against equal rights?" I said that this is the way of the future, that the US gradually moves toward more and more freedom.
Anyhow, *blows on and shines fingernails* several people took the time to tell me how much they appreciated my being there, what I had said, and that as a straight person, my words may well carry more weight than theirs.
So between that and Raederle's success on Sunday, I'm sickeningly proud of myself right now.
(Except that now I have to finish Mary's plastering. And wiring. And build more planting boxes. And reorganize the office, as I promised to do when I bought that desk on Sunday. Oh yes - and see whether we could re-do the kitchen base cabinets with the ones that we saw for cheap at Habitat while we were picking up the desk.)