20 minutes ago I witnessed a poignant moment in the move towards marriage equality in Wisconsin. Hundreds (I can't estimate) of activists and protesters marched up State St to the Capitol to confront a press conference given by the National Organization for Marriage, a socially conservative group dedicated to banning gay marriage.
NOM had about three dozen supporters there at most. Police had put tape around the thirty yard perimeter where they stood, equipped with t-shirts and signs that read "Don't Mess with Marriage." There were several families that had brought their children to hold signs.
You had to feel for the little guys as they witnessed a crowd exponentially larger than theirs surround the area, chanting slogans such as "Gay or Straight, Black or White, Marriage is a Civil Right," or "Take Your Hate Out of Our State!" Did any of them see the spectacle and at that moment suspect that their mom and dad were on the wrong side of history?
The scene at the Capitol today strongly suggests that one day, one of those kids will talk about the moment he/she recognized their parents were fighting a losing battle. Very little footage of the event will capture the words of the anti-gay speakers without including the thunderous protest chants in the background. In fact, NOM will be lucky if any of the microphones were able to pick up any of the speeches at all.
One of the NOM speakers, national activist and writer Maggie Gallagher, cited the fact that nearly 60 percent of Wisconsinites voted for the marriage ban four years ago. However, the contrast between her side's showing and that of the opposition displays the changing attitudes in the very state where discrimination triumphed so recently.
Few people care enough to go to a demonstration against gay marriage, whereas many people feel passionate enough to march in its favor. Sure, this is Madison, but this commie haven didn't stop a robust Tea Party from showing up three months ago.