Following the Prop 8 legislation that banned same-sex marriages in California, people from all fifty states turned out to march for equal rights this Saturday in their respective cities. Seattle and Olympia were both on the march. One of my friends, Melissa, went to Seattle and brought some pictures back for show-and-tell.

ME: Even though Prop-8 was California’s bad deal, why were people marching for equal rights in Seattle?

MELISSA: Although the majority of the states have motioned to define marriage as “a union between a man and a woman”, Prop. 8 was unique in that it took away same-sex marriage rights that had already been granted by the California Constitution. Just because it happened in a different state doesn’t mean that we can’t process a thought and take action.

ME: You snapped a photo of Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels speaking at the rally on Capitol Hill. What did he say and what does it mean that the Mayor, Senator Ed Murray, King County Executive Ron Sims, and several others in government positions are supporting the cause?

MELISSA: Nickels denounced Prop. 8 as a hateful measure and said it should have never made it onto the ballot. He also declared November 15th Marriage Equality Day in Seattle. We have support from politically influential people; it means a lot to have that kind of support, especially when the viewpoint you’re fighting from isn’t necessarily the popular one.

ME: How did you meet Fabulous K.J.?

MELISSA: Fabulous K.J. and his two friends were the only other people I saw at City Hall that morning, the original meeting place. I didn’t get the memo about the rally being moved to Volunteer Park and obviously neither did they, but I suppose it was an organized venue change because it was pretty much just the four of us. We tripped around together for a bit, confused, and then split up (they went to find breakfast while I tried to locate a few friends). My friend Leo looked things up online and messaged me that the happenings were at Volunteer Park. I don’t think I would have made it if it weren’t for him. I forwarded the info to K.J. and we reunited during the march.

ME: Who is the saxophone guy in this picture?

MELISSA: Oh, Kevin – he wasn’t associated with the Prop. 8 happenings. I just recognized him as one of my brother’s classmates and decided to be oddly extroverted. He invited me to join his band. I guess that’s flattering.

Who is the naked lady on the balcony?

MELISSA: I wouldn’t have a clue, but everyone on the street loved her. I don’t think the guys in the next balcony over realized that the sudden surge in whoo hoo was due to naked-support, rather than the usual clothed-support, but, well, you know. We’ll take any support we can get, nude or otherwise.

ME: When you got to Westlake Center you were met with anti-anti-Prop 8 protesters. What was their deal?

MELISSA: Oh, the typical burn-in-hellers. They were citing Bible verses and saying we should repent or else. I know the big “or else” thing is a common thread amongst Bible-affiliated religion, but I really don’t think there is any choice associated with being gay, lesbian, or otherwise.

I’ve heard about ex-gay programs… they’re really unhealthy; the American Psychiatric Association (APA) doesn’t approve of that at all – doesn’t that mean anything to people advising gays to repent?

I met a Christian woman on the bus ride home and we talked pretty much the whole time. She said if people want to get married they should get married, and we’ve got bigger things to spend our time on than fighting over that.

ME: Beautiful picture! Last question: the Washington State Supreme Court upheld in 2006 the definition of marriage as “a union between a man and a woman”, and in 2007 Governor Christine Gregoire passed the Domestic Partners Registry which explicitly bans same-sex couples from marriage. What’s it going to take to win same-sex marriages in Washington State?

MELISSA: What the exact logistics of getting same-sex marriage legal in Washington State are, I don’t know. I think the organization and the peacefulness of the event this past Saturday speaks volumes about our community. There were tables to write to legislators and such about how people in attendance disagreed with bans on same-sex marriage. Domestic partnerships and civil unions just aren’t enough.

ME: Thanks, Melissa!