Love Exiles on the Marriage Equality Express

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Saturday October 9 - Indianapolis, Columbus, Akron and Pittsburgh

I had hoped to catch up on my sleep last night, but instead my lack of sleep is finally catching up on me. I'm starting to feel the wear of 2 weeks of not enough sleep.

We board the bus at 7:30 am. I woke at 6 am, checked my email and read the latest article on, the San Francisco Chronicle site, which is publishing daily stories about the caravan. Today's story is about all the technology we've got on board the bus and how we're using it. Our reporter herself has been known to rush out of the bus into the hotel as soon as we pull up to plug into the Internet to make her deadline. Often though we're able to use the Internet from the bus, with a couple of laptops that have a special wireless connect - as long as the batteries hold up and there's a signal out there.

We're going to Columbus, Ohio, for a lunchtime event at the Metropolitan Community Church. We're leaving early because we underestimated how long it would take to get there from Indianapolis. It turns out that Indiana doesn't have Daylight Savings Time, so we have an hour less than we though. So we move our departure from 8 to 7:30 and grab breakfast on the way to the bus.

We've had quite a few events at churches. Last night's in Indianapolis at the MCC, Columbus will be at the Unitarian Universalist Church as was our event in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

When we pull up to the church in Columbus, I nearly break down in tears. People are waiting outside – families with children, everyone looking happy to see us. We're a group of strangers but before we even get out of the bus we've had a warm welcome.

I thought I was schedule to speak in Akron, but it turns out I'm on the schedule for Columbus. We have a short program here, so I try to fit my message into a few minutes. My energy is low and afterwards I'm wiggling in my seat because I have to pee. When the final speaker is finished, I head in the direction of the bathroom.

When I emerge from the stall, two women are washing their hands. "Should we wash the keys too?", one asks the other. They look at me and explain that they were putting fuel in the car and spilled on the keys. One woman looks at me and asks, "Are you the one from the Netherlands?" She says she's Dutch, from Arnhem. And she's angry with people like me, who give up the battle and move to Holland. She's been struggling to stay in the USA with her American partner, which has been a huge challenge. I'm taken aback, but listen to what she has to say. She wants us to fight. That's why I'm on the caravan and what we're doing.

She learned about the event today from a friend in Arnhem, Mike Gould – a business associate of mine. He phoned the day before I was to leave to San Francisco to ask me to help out with a project while he was out of town on a business trip to Mexico. I told him I would be out of town too. I hesitated for a moment and then said I was going to the US to be on a marriage caravan. He told me he knew a US-Dutch lesbian couple but he'd lost contact with them years ago. I learn that he hunted her down on the internet and sent her the information about the event today! Yup, coming out about what you're up to is the way to get the word out and find and engage new allies. What a great feeling not to be in this alone, to have the support of family, friends and now business associates.

My nephew wore his Immigration Equality t-shirt to school on Thursday, the same day the caravan riders all wore the Immigration Equality shirt in support of bi-national couples. He's in fourth grade. He told the other kids that he's sending a message to his elected officials. How cool is that!


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