Democracy in Action

Spent this very rainy day (it rained all night and alllll day) in the State Capitol. The morning was supposed to be training, but a legislative schedule change made the day much more interesting. The 300-400 of us trooped over from our training area to the Capitol to sit in on the Judiciary Committee's hearing for HR 5--the Assembly's bill to strike down Prop 8. We got to hear testimony for and against, and then almost an hour of public comment--pro and con. While there were a number of illogical and purely emotional statements on both sides, it was really clear that the Yes on 8 folks have no rational arguments. None. The Bible isn't an argument. "The will of the people" (a.k.a. tyranny of the majority) isn't an argument. And my favorite--"the legislature has more important things to be doing now" (a reference to our pathetically stalled state budget). How is that an argument? Oh, let's not deal with a civil rights issue right now. Too inconvenient. Maybe next year. Yeah, right. Sorry...our typical humor is missing on this topic.

The good news is that no one thinks that our marriage will be struck down (nor those of the other 18,000 folks). The issue at hand now is whether a simple majority vote can alter the fundamental rights of other citizens. We think that the legislature will do the right thing and pass HR-5 and SR-7 (identical bills to strike down Prop 8) and that the Supreme Court (on March 5) will also uphold their ruling from May of last year. But, boy, it's frustrating to have people voting, debating, and arguing about our very lives.

OK, end soapbox rant. We did play tourist a bit after our lobbying visit to Senator Maldonado's chief of staff (the senator was locked up--literally--in a senate session re: the budget)--

Here's Lisa waiting for her meeting with the Governator:

We were struck by how ordinary citizens can just truck around the Capitol building. Our group was everywhere, there were school groups lined up outside Ahnold's office for a tour, etc., etc. I mean, we the people DO own the building, but still, it's cool that it's so open and available for citizens. Got a few patriotic warm fuzzies.....

And the historic dome--very pretty (but not so much on the iPhone. I didn't carry my good camera out in the rain today):

Didn't do any other sightseeing after we were done at 2PM--too rainy. Our campground is flooded. Poor Nick is dying to chase a ball, but he has to turn into a labrador to do that here in the deep and wide puddles!

Off to Napa tomorrow AND the promise of sunshine (or at least just plain cloudy)--

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