Madison, WI: In largest crowd to date, equality supporters outnumber NOM by more than 8 to 1
July 27, 2010,
by Adam Bink
Fresh off a massive #FAIL in Indianapolis where pro-equality supporters more than tripled the number from NOM's side, and where one of their supporters was caught with a sign claiming the solution to \"gay marriage\" was two nooses, we're in Madison, WI today.
Arisha just radioed in- fifteen minutes before the NOM rally, the police already started to surround the place with yellow caution tape.
Which can mean only one thing: Brian Brown and his anti-equality followers are back on tour.
But you know what excites me even more?
That's a hand-counted crowd of 466 pro-equality supporters, my friends. Four hundred and sixty-six. Easily the biggest crowd yet!
NOM's side? Arisha counts 54.
Below, some excellent signs from the tour. We'll have more details as this develops…
UPDATE BY ADAM (12:17 PST) : I just got off the phone with Anthony, our videographer on hand. He told me the pro-equality marchers came down from the University of Wisconsin-Madison to the State Capitol and took over the entire street- something you can see in the photo below:
Sidewalk to sidewalk, the street was full of nearly what we counted as 466 pro-equality supporters. Amazing.
Anthony also confirmed that Brian Brown is indeed back on tour- and up to his old tricks. Where before Brian and NOM attempted to keep our NOM Tour Trackers from covering the event in Annapolis, this time they had the local authorities wall off their supporters in the statehouse courtyard with yellow tape- and refused to let equality supporters inside. It brings separate but unequal a whole new meaning. Anthony and Arisha did manage to get inside, though.
Anthony is uploading video of this soon. The question we at NOMTourTracker.com have to ask is, what are Brian and NOM afraid of that they need to wall off an entire section of the courtyard?
UPDATE BY ARISHA (12:22 PST): Poor Brian. Just as he and his supporters decided to re-join the tour, NOM was met with its largest equality counter-demonstration to date. 466 equality activists marched down the streets of Madison and up the steps of the State House to greet a decent-sized crowd of NOM supporters – relative to their other tour stops – that at one point reached 54 people.
Nonetheless, the massive upstaging of NOM couldn't go by without a little spin from NOM's speakers.
\"Thank you all for coming,\" Julliane Appling , a representative from Wisconsin Family Action began. \"[We hoped our turnout would be larger], but our people actually have jobs.\"
Maggie and Brian both cheered.
\"I ran up the steps in front of the [equality] marchers,\" Brandy, a Wisconsin equality activist said. \"As I watched the sea of rainbows ascend the steps, I was in tears. This is my town – my community – and today, I am proud.\"
\"They had months to prepare for their rally, we organized our [counter-protest] in one week,\" chimed in another equality activist, also in tears, a as a chant of \"We are the majority\" began in the background.
She stopped talking to me to join in with the chant and disappeared into the crowd before I could get her name.
\"In many of the places we've gone to, people have attempted to silence us,\" said Brown, acknowledging the sizable equality protest. \"In Rhode Island, protestors attempted to shout us down, to storm the stage.\"
Oh Brian….Rhode Island was soooo two weeks ago. But now that you're talking First Amendment rights, let's talk a bit about our cameraman that you had the Maryland police threaten to arrest in Annapolis the last time you were on tour.
Stay tuned. We're working to upload Brian's answer to our First Amendment query, along with a funny video you'll love.
UPDATE BY ADAM (1:42 PM PST): Okay, our first video is in, courtesy of commenter \"New\":
Wow. Just wow. The throng of supporters lining the streets- from families to individuals with handmade signs to the gigantic rainbow flag (at about the 3:25 minute mark- you gotta see it) is breathtaking and, as folks in the comments have noted, brings something salty and wet to the eyes. Heartening, to say the least!
UPDATE BY ADAM (2:56 PST): We've got some videos for you from NOM Tour Tracker videographer, Anthony, and they're amazing. The first is below showing the \"yellow tape\" I discussed above. The local authorities actually separated off a perimeter between equality supporters and NOM supporters. Again, what are they so afraid of?
The second is Anthony's coverage standing from the Statehouse looking down at the throng of equality supporters marching up the street. It's a bit of a different perspective than the video from the comments I posted above.
The third is our old friend, Brian Brown, who returned to the tour, being asked about a videographer being removed from the tour. As Arisha wrote above, Brian shouldn't talk after attempting to have our videographer removed. Watch her call him out on it:
Also, his frame \"I believe we are part of the new civil rights movement\" is laughable. Civil rights is about extending rights to those who are oppressed, and Brian supports amendments that restrict them. We all know it, and we're going to continue to demonstrate it along with countless families and couples on tour.
More pics in the extended entry:
And of course, Maggie was on hand: