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If I had to offer a terse summary of the Town Hall meeting last night here in San Francisco, I’d call it an information-gathering session, with a couple of hundred folks throwing out ideas left and right.

The meeting broke into smaller groups, so that everyone’s ideas could be heard, a move that brought out my flee-for-the-hills instinct. Writers like to sit on the side and observe. Oh and judge. But I stuck it out for the greater good. Here are a few notes, though I don’t do shorthand, so, you know, I might have missed a couple of things.

First off, Marriage Equality, last night’s most visible host, is using these town hall meetings all over California to gather up the ideas and collected wisdom of people as they figure out what steps to take next. To that end they’ve created an online survey which anyone can fill out with suggestions. After taking everything into consideration they will announce the next major steps in January.

Marriage rights as an issue has galvanized The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence like nothing before. One sister commented that they see the lack of gay people represented in the No on 8 ads and commercials as a failure, and are committed to raising awareness of gays and their stories, especially in the communities that voted yes on 8. Field trips to Fresno and Orange County, for example. No word yet if they will do so in full habit.

This idea, that gays were not well represented in the No on 8 ads, was a common refrain throughout the meeting.

On that note, and inspired by Harvey Milk, everyone is urged to come out, come out wherever you are. Use the holidays to start a conversation with someone whose views you may not share. Start A Conversation is a website with tips on how to do just that.

Another idea that was brought up often, and inspired a lot of nodding and clapping, was the building of coalitions among all communities that face discrimination. We can’t take our allies for granted, nor can we expect their support if we’re not willing to show up for their causes as well.

Upcoming Events:

Day Without a Gay: December 10, 2008

Tech Meeting: A gathering of techies and their less-skilled friends to discuss the creation of a central website/clearing house of all of the mountains of information regarding the Marriage Equality movement on the web. A cursory Google search will show you the reason why this kind of site is needed. Perhaps modeled after Obama’s website, which was a central clearing house for all of the various local communities organizing for his campaign. Sat, December 13, 2008, 2 pm, Citizen Space in San Francisco. I’ll update this listing when I get more info.

Nationwide Food Drive for Equality: reaching out to both our supporters and to organizations and individuals that opposed us by donating to faith-based food pantries. Underway now until Light Up the Night

Light up the Night
: December 20, 2008: a nation-wide series of peaceful candlelight vigils in shopping districts to bring attention to the cause

Equality Camp: modeled after BarCamps (An ad-hoc gathering born from the desire for people to share and learn in an open environment. It is an intense event with discussions, demos, and interaction from attendees) to “bring together the Netroots, Grassroots, web 2.0 experts and technologies and all stakeholders to create an information system to achieve marriage and equality for all.” This event defies easy summary, or rather defies my skills to do so. Check their website for more details. January 3, 2009.

A March from San Francisco to Sacramento. Just a casual walk over five days or so in March of 2009. Nothing strenuous.

At this point there is no Main Organization, no Fearless and Charismatic Leader to follow into battle. In other words, if you have a good idea, “fucking do it,” our hostess suggested.  Find the group or the action that best fits your style and interests.

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