The State House was packed with supporters and, yes, opponents of marriage equality. While the Senate Judiciary Committee was hearing testimony for and against the bill, they were also hearing the horde of supporters and protestors gathered in the rotunda echoing throughout the marble halls.
Supporters of same-sex marriage sang songs like Marching on the Side of Love, Amazing Grace, and Let it Shine, it seems the opposition could only muster a din of “No,No, No!” The chants and songs became deafening as the group in the rotunda grew. There were a surprisingly large contingency of Latinos within the ranks of those opposed to same sex marriage.
More than 650 people signed up to testify on the bill. There were many more outside the hearing room. The crowd in the rotunda spilled onto the second and third floor balconies as the din of what seemed like a sermon against gay marriage echoed through the marble halls of the State House. Funny, hate speech sounds just about the same in any language.
Some within RIUnited spoke of a young transgendered man that was vilified and brought to tears by the predominantly Latino crowd in the rotunda. At one point, I waded into the crowd and shot this video. You can see the hate in this woman’s eyes.
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I guess the lesson here is, when you don’t have a rational, cogent argument, be as loud as you possibly can.
Before the fracas in the rotunda began, I caught up with Ray Sullivan, former State Representative, and current campaign director for Rhode Islanders United for Marriage Equality. He had this to say:
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