A string of good luck leads me to Minneapolis on Saturday. To a protest of California's Proposition 8. To a banner that reads, "Legalize Love," and a sign that says, "Shall I vote on your marriage?"
My good fortune:
1) My aunt Janet rescues me at the train station in St Paul (has a little trouble finding me, as I snap pictures of graffiti in the bathroom).
2) This nice couple, Dennis and Brian (together for 27 months after falling in love at a volley ball game -- opposing teams, of course) open their hearts and car and let me hitch from St Paul to Minneapolis.
3) The protest grows so large that even though we arrive an hour late (long story), we make it in time to join the burgeoning march.
In chorus with hundreds of marchers, I chant:
Out of the closets and into the streets! (A classic.)
1-2-3-4. Love is what we're fighting for!
5-6-7-8. End the violence, end the hate!
Gay, straight, black, white --
Marriage is a civil right!
What do we want? Civil rights!
When do we want 'em? Now!
I peruse the signs and posters:
No more Mr Nice Gay!
Shall I vote on your marriage?
Focus on your family!
Marriage = Heart + Heart
Marital Status --
Love Love Love
(This one is Brian's sign...)
So you want me to marry your daughter?
As the march snakes along Nicollet Avenue to Loring Park, I watch people watching us. Construction workers, speechless. A cab driver, cheering. Passers-by, waving and honking. A homeless man, shaking his styrofoam cup in time with our chant.
On street corners and city benches, the homeless guys watch us, study us, discuss us as we march. One man smiles broadly, toothlessly, marveling with a friend. Another jostles a shopping cart, crammed with his worldly goods, toward the street to let us pass. Many men beg with empty cups.
As we watch each other, I wonder, what is the meaning of love?
"Legalize Love," the banner reads.
I wonder, if we legalized love, how would my life be different?
How would yours?