On Spokane and Supreme Court Decisions

Hard to say how things will shake out in the upcoming weeks and months as the Supreme Court wrangles over DOMA and Proposition 8. But safe to say that Washington helped set an example of equality and justice for all that’s ringing loudly this week.

This morning, Guernica, an online magazine of art and politics, published an essay I wrote about phone banking for marriage equality in Eastern Washington. The piece was inspired by volunteer work I did last year with Greater Spokane Progress and Washington United for Marriage in the months leading up to the vote on Referendum 74.

From “There’s a Train a’Comin'”:

This Friday, the Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court will gather privately to discuss the constitutionality of Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act. They won’t have law clerks or media crowding the room. They won’t be checking how many Facebook photos have been turned into equal signs. It will be the most significant conversation on same-sex marriage in history, but when it happens they will be, simply, nine people around a table.


If I learned anything from Washington state’s fight for marriage equality last year, it was this: In life and in discourse, beware the trap of the immutable opinion; it’s one thing to hear an argument, it’s another thing to listen.


On a Monday night last October, ten fellow volunteers and I gathered in Spokane to phone bank for Referendum 74. A local café stayed open late on our behalf, a courageous act, considering support for same-sex marriage could damage their bottom line. Because unlike Seattle—a veritable Tomorrowland for progressives, a magical world where everything is recyclable, the mayor bikes to work, and liberal dreams come true—east of the Cascade Mountain range, it’s a lot of gun rights and God and custom bumper stickers reading “Romney-Ryan: Don’t Re-Nig in 2012.” This was our phone banking territory. And we would be interrupting dinner.

To read the full text, click here.


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