I arrived in Maine yesterday and have already been put to work. Picked up at the airport in a car full of disheveled campaign materials, half-eaten sandwiches (nothing molding — yet) and spare clothes, I immediately felt home again — ah, the life of an organizer. Katy Jayne, the LGBT Project’s Marriage Organizer here in Maine was kind enough to pick me up — but her stern look of “hurry the hell up, I’ve got to get back to the office” was quite clear.
So far I’ve served as courier, having delivered campaign schwag to our partners at Equality Maine, I’ve been sent to pick up testimony at Kinko’s, and I expect my next move is a sandwich run. It’s 3:30 p.m. and no matter that no one here has eaten lunch… it’s show time!
Today is our biggest day of this campaign… Marriage in Maine: The Way Life Should Be. The energy is palpable — I feel like I’ve been thrown in the midst of a campaign in full swing. The months of work put into building a coalition, gathering voices from clergy, students, ACLU members and business leaders, collecting signatures, running phone banks, holding community events leads up to today’s joint House-Senate committee hearing — by far the biggest event of the campaign. While this isn’t the final vote, today is the chance to showcase our supporters, share testimony, and spread our message.
Due to the anticipation of enormous crowds, the hearing — originally scheduled to be held in a high school auditorium on Friday, has been moved up to today and to the state capital’s biggest venue, the civic center. Expecting throngs of supporters and opponents, folks here are preparing for all potential scenarios. Right now, Maine Civil Liberties Union Executive Director Shenna Bellows is headed up to Augusta to be present as a voice for fairness while the opposition holds its first rally. All hands are on deck — ours and theirs.
I’m in the conference room, knowing right now my job is just to get out of the way until my next orders are delivered. I’m being kept company by the stories and pictures of warm, smiling (and hopeful!) couples who look down upon me from the walls. It is a sobering reminder — amidst the chaos and anticipation — of why we are here and what this is about.
Today is about Mainers. It’s about fighting for The Way Life Should Be.