Thursday, February 09, 2006

Crowd Gathers For Our Families Count Rally

A crowd of approximately 150 gathered at the State House today for Indiana Equality's "Our Families Count" Rally. The event was organized in response to a recent spate of legislation aimed at relegating GLBT Hoosiers to second-class status.

Several GLBT-friendly legislators addressed the group, including Rep. David Orentlicher (D), Sen. Anita Bowser (D) and Sen. Billie Breaux (D) among others. Indianapolis city-county councilors Scott Keller and Jackie Nytes, who sponsored the HRO last year, also addressed the group.

WISH-TV reported that "the demonstrators oppose[d] efforts to ban gay marriage. A proposed constitutional amendment passed the General Assembly last year and, because an amendment must pass two separately-elected legislatures, will be back again next year." WISH-TV added, "The rally was significantly smaller than a rally conducted last year."

Last year a rally organized by Rock Indiana in opposition to SJR-7, the proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriages in Indiana, drew more than 800 outside in the cold at the same time Eric Miller and nearly 2,000 of his Advance America supporters rallied inside.

Marti Abernathey has posted pictures from today's rally, which you can view by clicking here.

14 comments:

Jerame Davis said...

Great write-up, Gary...One minor correction...There were at least 300 people there, not 150. We had seating for over 200 and there were at least 150 people standing.

It was a great rally. Hope to see everyone at the next one.

Bil Browning said...

Actually, as the person who arranged for chairs, there were 300 chairs - most of which were full. Plus people standing on the balconies, the back of the room and on the sides. I'd estimate closer to 400 people total attended.

Advance Indiana said...

Thanks for the correction. I was disappointed the Star didn't have any mention of the rally.

Steph Mineart said...

Hmm. Considering that there are pictures of the rally from beginning to end, and that I know how to count... I don't think that it does much of a service to anyone to pad numbers.

Anonymous said...

150,300,400... You are ALL part of the problem; please, it's way past time to grow-up and dump the ego-trips!

Steph Mineart said...

We might be disagreeing, bitchy anonymous, but every one of us -- Gary, Bil, Jerame, myself -- have all worked hard over the last year on GLBT issues. None of us is "part of the problem" we're all the solution. We just have some differences. So your comment is way out of line and uncalled for.

Anonymous said...

Yeah right, you are arguing about whose team—Rock Indiana versus Indiana Equality—garnered the biggest turnout. Sadly, intended or not, that fact is quite easily discerned; thus, my comment concerning the immature and ego driven spate of words taking place.

Given that this is indeed a public forum, my comment, like it or not, is completely within bounds and most definitely called for.

Advance Indiana said...

Why don't we just agree that the crowd was somewhere between 150 and 300 and leave it at that-it really doesn't make that big of a difference. Nobody seems to dispute WISH-TV's comment that "the rally was significantly smaller than a rally conducted last year." The important thing is that the rally did take place, and that should be viewed as a positive.

Pepper said...

The only reason I believe numbers are important is the message it conveys to our enemies. Last year "the gays" were able to pull out 1,000 people for a media-frenzied protest and this year "the gays" pulled out half that for a subdued rally in the rotunda. The impact a large turnout has on the community and our enemies should not be overlooked. If Indiana Equality is going to lead this community, they need to figure out a way to move the people. You move the people and you've won.

Jerame Davis said...

I actually agree with Pepper's comment regarding moving the people. There is little doubt that we didn't turn out as many people as last year. The factors behind that are both complex and debatable. The simple truth is that we must create a movement and we have two years to do it.

What is important is that the rally happened and the rallies will continue to happen for so long as we are treated as second class citizens.

No one is ego tripping over anything. It's simply incorrect to say there were only 150 people there. We collected over 200 names and there were people in and out throughout the program. I think 300 is probably the more accurate number, which is why I posted it.

I also was disappointed that the star didn't cover it. Apparently toll roads and daylight savings time are sexier to the statehouse reporters.

Pepper said...

I've received some e-mails from people (unsolicited) who have written to tell me a few of the reasons they didn't attend the rally. The reasons were clear: they were not compelled; they saw no sense of urgency - among other reasons. Might I suggest to you, Jerame and others in IE, in building your movement at this late date, to use a verb in the packaging of your events? "Our Families Count" is passive and feels whiney. If you want movement you need to package these events in such a way that will get people on their feet. I believe, if done properly, there was no reason that IE couldn't have built on last year's momentum and pulled out nearly 2,000 people given SJR7, the HRO and Patricia Miller's crap. Besides, IE touts itself as professionals in grassroots organizing and it does have representation in all corners of the state. And my personal belief is that the Indy Star, despite its numerous shortcomings, didn't find the rally newsworthy. The rally simply wasn't alluring. The whiney gays have to compete with a host of other newsworthy events. And television stations gave it little air time so they didn't find it particularly newsworthy either. However, if the rally had produced a celebrity speaker and/or held a high-energy undercurrent (like last year's rally where we were seen as assertive/angry/confident and not whiney) and/or garnered more than 1,000 people, I believe the media would have paid more attention. My bottom line: go big if you are trying to rally the community or don't do it at all.

paula said...

Two questions:
Are Pepper and Anonymous one and the same?

If Pepper and Steph are so good at this, why not involved in IE or IE not in Rock Indiana?

The point, my friends, is that we have to figure out a way in less than two years to get the average hoosier to identify with our point of view rather than Eric Miller/Advance Indiana's. They have more money, more people, and frankly, they use God, and He draws a pretty big crowd each and every Sunday in these parts.

United we stand, divided we look pretty silly commenting on blog posts.

Anonymous said...

Rock Indiana organizers moved folks because they were able to tap into the anger of folks enraged by the then recent intro of SRJ7. AND, then put in place the means (rally) to allow their anger to be appropriately expressed. You’re right, Pepper, RI participants were the pissed-off folks…and those are the folks IE is never going to be able to tap into…and I just wish they stop trying!

(Paula, while I’m flattered by your question I doubt that Pepper is…lol...but only because she doesn't know me!)

Paula said...

The only problem is, I'm not completely convinced that anger will be received by the people in the middle. THOSE are the people that count. If we don't win them over, we are done. Can we do that by being angry, or will that just feed into the fear that Eric Miller gives them a constant stream of?