I tried, I really tried. I knew I'd be covering both the morning's anti-gay rally and the afternoon's pro-gay rally and, with a few hours in between, I figured I would go to Bryant Park and make use of the free WiFi access to give a quick update. But, between uploading photos and videos, and the low upload speed, I quickly gave up.
So, let me first share with you my favorite moment of the day considering what I'd seen and listened to at the earlier rally:
YES! That's Ana Ortiz of Ugly Betty with a message to the Reverend Diaz: "Mr. Diaz: You do not represent the voice of Latinos! Absolutely not! Not in our name!" or, as she put it later, "Mr. Diaz: You are behind the times, Papi!"
Love that woman!
That's from the amazing marriage equality rally organized in midtown by the folks at Broadway Impact (it was co-sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign, the Empire State Pride Agenda, Marriage Equality New York, the Civil Rights Front and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS).
I was stunned by the number of people filling the streets considering that, as far as I know, the pro-gay rally announcement was only made on Wednesday, and you could certainly see the crowd go back a four or five blocks. Certainly not as massive as the morning's rally but impressive nevertheless.
In the morning, Diaz tried to make a mockery of the afternoon's pro-gay rally saying that those at the anti-gay rally were "real people" while those at the afternoon rally would be, you know, celebrities and Broadway folk. Thank you, Senator Diaz, for calling all of us superstars!
It all got started by the cast of "Hair" dressed in spiffed up hippie garb and singing "Let the Sunshine In". And, in addition to Ana Ortiz, Audra McDonald, David Hyde-Pierce and Cheyenne Jackson, there was the great Cynthia Nixon announcing her engagement to her partner Christine Marinoni and giving a moving, amazing speech (here in three parts, cameo by "Sex and the City" cast-mate Kristin Davis):
But the big presence at the afternoon rally was not so much the Broadway stars but the politicians with both Mayor Bloomberg and Governor David Paterson making an appearance.
And yet, just as the morning rally seemed to be all about preaching to the converted, I couldn't help but feel the same about the afternoon rally. I couldn't help but feel that those who attended the morning rallies left feeling as "uplifted" as those who attended the afternoon rally (although I hesitate to use the word 'uplifted' to describe people being preached that their homophobic beliefs are a good thing).
It was a show of force in numbers and political acumen but, in the end, I'm not sure whether it swayed anyone who is on the fence to do the right thing and vote yes on marriage equality. It just delineated the battle sides.
BTW, my second favorite moment? Meeting Macha Mexico (below)!