The Great San Francisco Marriages of 2004, part 2

For several months, my husband had helped a bit to organize a big Freedom to Marry rally in Sacramento scheduled for Valentine's Day, 2004. They wanted to make it a really big deal with lots of people. I worried enormously that there wouldn't be a big turnout: that they'd get set up for seven hundred and only get seven.

Well, because of the marriages in SF that had started two days ago, there was adequate interest. Way adequate. There were about a thousand people there.

There were speeches and cheering and speeches and cheering and speeches and cheering and speeches and cheering. One of the speeches was given by my beloved husband to prove that there are straight people out there in favor of equal access to marriage. (I got to stand next to him to prove that he really is straight. I remember fixating on how my pantyhose was riding down.)

Looking out at the crowd, I remember feeling really gratified at the sea of "WE ALL DESERVE THE FREEDOM TO MARRY" signs that I saw. You see, the Freedom to Marry Coalition had printed up some large number of signs -- I think 500 -- for the 2003 San Francisco Pride parade. I spent quite a lot of time trying to hand out those signs before the parade with very little luck. At the end of the day, as we were leaving, we decided we really should go past where we'd left the signs to salvage any few that might be left there.

I was very discouraged to see that most of the signs were still there. It seemed like it had been a big waste of money for the coalition to print up all those signs. Looking at the huge piles of signs, I was tempted to just cut and run and let somebody else throw them away. It had been a long day -- I was tired, I was hungry, and people clearly didn't cotton to those signs. Furthermore, the signs were kind of dirty, and I had on good clothes. (If you're going to subvert The Establishment, it helps to look like The Establishment.) Jim said that we really should take the signs home. He was right, and I knew it, but I didn't have to like it.

So we loaded several hundred signs in the back of our car, took them home, and unloaded them into our already messy garage, where they stayed for seven months. We loaded them all into our car and took them to Sacramento with us, where we passed them out.

Thus, to see all those signs made me feel really good. I might not have wanted to collect all the signs, but we did, and that turned out to be the right thing to do.

Go to part 3 -- volunteering

Ducky Sherwood