As we have done before, we took off from school today for a Civics lesson. For two and a half hours, we stood in the cold outside an early voting site and campaigned on behalf of Marylanders for Marriage Equality.
At 11am on a weekday, the polls were packed.
We clustered with a handful of other electioneers at the sidewalk in front of the building, handing out literature and waving signs. Did I mention that it was cold? It was cold.
The kids were awesome. They handed out leaflets – Alex was the nimble one, darting up and down the street to be the first to catch people as they approached the polling place, while Colin stood next to me and used the power of three-year-old cuteness to get people to stop and wait while he painstakingly peeled a flyer away from his stack. They marched up and down the street holding signs. They made up songs about voting for 6. Alex clowned around with some of the other electioneers. Colin took short breaks to play with the bucket of matchbox cars he brought with him, but he always came back to ask for leaflets or to hold a sign. We took a break in the middle, going inside the polls to warm up and eat our packed lunch, but other than that they kept their focus on our work for nearly the whole time.
The voters were also awesome. There was a minimum one-hour wait to vote, and probably closer to two hours for part of the time we were there – yet everyone we saw was patient and good-humored about it. I had heard stories of Yes-on-6 people being confronted by opponents, but everyone was pleasant to us (although some refused our flyers). One man told me, almost sorrowfully, that he wished the law asked for civil unions so that he could support it, “but the word marriage is in the Bible. I can’t help you out. I wish I could.”
Alex has been coming to protests and lobby days and rallies for marriage equality since she was a tiny, tiny girl:
It’s good to see her now, as an older child, really starting to grasp the issues involved. She has a keen interest in trying to understand both sides of the question.
I don’t know how this will all come out when the votes are counted, but I’m glad that we were able to participate today. I’m glad the kids see that equality is important to us, and that we act to support our values.