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A successful night for Marriage Equality in Rhode Island September 12, 2009

Posted by truthspew in Uncategorized.

So this evening I had the privilege of attending a party for Marriage Equality Rhode Island in collaboration with Mass Equality that was held at the Newport, RI home of Esmond Harmsworth & Jim Richardson.

The Harmsowrth-Richardson home is absolutely gorgeous. E.g.

The “sun room” had great detail on the columns, wainscoting etc. We’re talking carved not molded. And the chandelier, a full candelabra chandelier with enough crystal to sink a ship. The “patio’ features a 15 foot high brass statue of Perseus, head on the shield and all. If this is a reproduction it was a damned expensive reproduction, gorgeous in its detail.

And the tech in me appreciated the digital music service throughout the house. I’ve heard of Slingbox and even the new Home Share on iTunes but this was both those services combined and on steroids. I wish I’d gotten some pix but alas, the camera was 25 miles away.

Great event. Some of the politicos who showed up:

  • Lincoln Chafee – Independent candidate for Governor of RI – speaker
  • U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse – speaker
  • Providence Mayor David Cicilline – speaker
  • RI Senator Rhoda Perry – A sponsor of marriage equality bills in the Senate. – Speaker
  • RI Representative Frank Ferri – Openly gay Rep. from the Oakland Beach district of Warwick – Speaker
  • RI Representative Edith Ajello – I’ve spoken of her here before. She’s come out as an atheist. Wooo!
  • RI Attorney General Patrick Lynch – supporter of marriage equality – Speaker
  • RI Democratic Party Chair Bill Lynch – Brother of Patrick and supporter of Marriage Equality
  • And we had Evan Wolfson, the founder of Freedom to Marry. He made a very good point, we can never stop the fight for marriage equality. Never. We cannot rest until full rights and privileges are extended to all citizens of Rhode Island.

    There were other politicos from Providence there too but I neglected to get names for all of them. My apologies to all of them.

    Had a nice conversation with Senator Whitehouse, and got to express my best wishes to Lincoln Chafee. Our esteemed Mayor of Providence (Aka Little Napoleon) was rarer than a black pearl though. He just doesn’t stick around to talk to his constituents.

    But the best part of the evening, I invited my partner Keyron and our friends Nick and Beth. This was Nick’s first exposure to politicians on a one-on-one level and I’m glad I could get him into such a position to do so. He had a nice chat with Lincoln Chafee.

    I’m glad I could bring them with me. I’ve always said the key feature about RI politicians is the accessibility. They key is, you don’t see them in their offices as the layers of administrative fluff will keep you away cold, plus the fact that they’re in federal buildings for the most part means the security is off on the retarded end (E.g. no iPods, no cameras, no laptops). But out in the ‘field’ they’re accessible and open. I’m actually surprised Senator Jack Reed or US Rep Patrick Kennedy, or for that matter US Rep. Jim Langevin didn’t show up. Langevin’s opponent Betsy Dennigan showed up though and was actively soliciting campaign donations.

    And Keyron of course was the darling of the show in our group. Everyone loves him, enough so to say bad things about my fashion sense.In my rule book it says fashion takes a back seat to knowledge. As I’ve said earlier, I’m kind of in the Seth Brundle school of wardrobe management. I don’t want to expend thought on what I’m going to wear, clothes are pretty much functional things to me.

    Of course it was hugs galore for me when we walked in. I’m pretty much the guy who is helping rock marriage equality forward in Rhode Island by suggesting legislative strategies to move the membership in our favor. And kudos to C. Kelly Smith for elaborating on the canvassing/polling process to move legislators.

    The food was excellent, ‘finger’ food things like salmon on endive, or lobster tex-mex with an excellent guacamole. It was all awesome. And the caterer loves Keyron. Everybody loves Keyron. And the drinks were flowing smooth an strong, completely open bar.

    What stuns me most is we have so many sitting politicians and candidates who support the cause of marriage equality. Maybe we will see it happen by 2010.

    And by my rough count, MERI and Mass Equality raised roughly $30,000 at this event. That’s 130 people at an average $230 donation. At one point in the evening it was announced that a party would match up to $5,000 if someone were to donate right then and there. And a few people popped up to donate that plus a little extra.

    Great night and I’m extremely happy that MERI is getting something out of this.



    1. Todd Hellskitchen - September 13, 2009

    Nice report!

    2. Larry Ohio - September 14, 2009

    The good people of Rhode Island are very lucky to have you there working for what’s right.

    3. wondermann - September 14, 2009

    sounds like a good night, I wish you had pics

    4. Rob - September 15, 2009

    Hmmm, fancy food and an open bar? Compare that to the event that National Organization for Marriage (NOMRI) had a few weeks ago-an outdoor family friendly cookout and concert that cost NOTHING to attend (they only charged for food). I’m guessing that the politicians who were there were only there to gather votes and financial support. Just goes to show that MERI operates in the shadows while NOMRI works in the light.

    =-=-=-=-=Truthspew Says=-=-=-

    MERI operated fully in the light. It is NOM in general that does not. For example, who funded that Aldrich Mansion event? We don’t know. I know who funded the MERI event, the space, catering and valet were provided by Esmond Harmsworth and Jim Richardson. Additionally each person paid a minimum of $100 per ticket, and there were on spot donations made.

    If you’d like I’ll see if I can get the full report and post it here so that NOM morons like you can stop crowing about MERI operating in the shadows.

    The main component of the funds for MERI and Mass Equality came from people who attended the event. I believe a partial list of donors is available here. Of course NOM won’t provide a similar partial list.

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