Politics Flowing Over

Wow, the last 24 hour have been a roller coaster ride, yes? Starting with yesterday’s Supreme Court decision that Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act to be unconstitutional. We need to make it easier to vote, not harder! I wasn’t happy with this, but I took a deep breath and hoped for better news in the next couple of days.

Then my attention turned to the #standwithwendy hashtag and the live feed of the Texas Senate session, where Wendy Davis was filibustering, SB5, which would have closed most of the health centers in Texas that provide abortions. I listened while I was making dinner, impressed with her abilities to draw this out and keep going. “What is she going to do when she runs out of things to say?” I smiled as she and her supporters made sure to speak slowly and draw out everything. In the evening, my husband and I were planning on watching Star Trek, but the suspense in Texas was so great, we had to pause it and listen. Who among us didn’t go, “Oh ZING!” when Senator Leticia Van De Putte asked, “At what point must a female senator raise her hand or her voice to be recognized over her male colleagues?”

And the cheering… oh those last 10 minutes! Who couldn’t get caught up in that?! When 12pm in Texas struck, I opened our front door and shouted, “WOOO TEXAS!” a phrase I don’t think I’ve ever said. I was so loud our neighbors came outside wondering if something was wrong (there has been a lot of crime in our neighborhood lately). And I was glued to the live feed as it seemed that the Texas senate was going to ignore their rules and count a late vote anyway. Then I went to sleep.

Right before 7 PST, I woke up and saw that the Texas senate realized they weren’t fooling the 170,000+ viewers the night before and conceded the filibuster. Then the next wave of news came rolling in.

DOMA. The Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional and Prop 8 was kicked back to California. I donned my rainbow scarf as I went about my morning.

This afternoon I found myself in San Francisco at the Religious Leaders Press Conference, where Jewish, Catholic, Episcopalian, Mormon, Evangelical, and more leaders had decided they’d meet to comment on the ruling. This meeting had been planned for weeks.


As the trolley approached Grace Cathedral, it was obvious where the meeting was; a rainbow balloon arch was the centerpiece of the photo ops. Grace Cathedral has a lovely labyrinth outside and I told my kids that labyrinths are symbols of Heavenly Mother and they could walk it if they wanted.


While my attention was split between listening to the speakers and making my children didn’t fall off of ledges, it was inspiring to pray and listen with the greater religious community.


Mitch was the second to last speaker; he started his words, “My name is Mitch Mayne, and I am an openly gay, active Mormon. And I am your ally in our quest for marriage equality.” There was an audible gasp of surprise from the press. The rest of his remarks are here:

This is Reverend Dr. Amos C. Brown of the NAACP and San Franciosco’s Third Baptist Church speaking.


Afterwards, I found more Mormons, including our favorite Carol Lynn Pearson. I told my daughter that Carol Lynn wrote a book about Heavenly Mother and she told Carol Lynn about her labyrinth adventures.


I also found Christine of the Catholic Women’s Ordination Conference.

IMG_3852Christine told me that coming to this event was her way of celebrating. She wanted to do something for this day.

Did you mark this historic day? Where you one of the 170,000+ people watching the Texas state senate last night? Is the Supreme Court Decision on the Voter’s Rights Act going to affect you and your friends?


TopHat is putting her roots down in the Bay Area with her husband and three children. She loves the earth, yarn, and bicycling.

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17 Responses

  1. Caroline says:

    Thanks so much for the pictures and the rundown, TopHat! This was an incredibly exciting day. I’m jealous that you were able to attend this event — looks like it was inspiring and wonderful.

  2. lee says:

    Enjoy it. Satan and his minions rejoice with you.

  3. Rixa says:

    TopHat, can you knit me a minion? You know I want one!

    Hey, we can put the minion in Exponent blog photos (kind of like some people put gnomes).

  4. Libby says:

    I cried, and designed a “Love Is Spoken Here” equality symbol T-shirt, and took dinner to a dear friend. June 26th, people, is going to be in the history books. Our grandchildren will have to memorize this date. And they’ll totally take it for granted, and we’ll be thrilled that they can.

    • martha says:

      Our grandchildren will have to memorize this date. And they’ll totally take it for granted, and we’ll be thrilled that they can.

      Well and beautifully said!

  5. Olea says:

    Hang on! Rewind! ” I told my kids that labyrinths are symbols of Heavenly Mother and they could walk it if they wanted”

    Did you tell them that because it’d keep them occupied, or did you tell them that because it’s true? I’ve never heard of this!

    • TopHat says:

      Both! According to Sue Monk Kidd’sDance of the Dissident Daughter, the labyrinth can be seen as a symbol of the Feminine Divine. I have a knitted finger labyrinth framed on our living room wall to balance the male-ness of our one Christ picture. Oh fun fact, CLP replied to my kids that she has a labyrinth in her yard.

      • Olea says:

        Thanks for this! If someone needs a post idea, some sort of curation of these would be very appreciated? I could hunt them down, but if it’s just general knowledge that I happen to not know, it’d be great to hear about them.

        Also: I like your mixing of theology and distraction, erm, engagement of small children. Those incidental conversation sometimes have more weight than “lessons”.

  6. Libby says:

    Mitch gave a great speech. So glad you got to be there!

  7. EmilyCC says:

    I shed a few tears and was so happy to see my friends on FB celebrating. Most of my family and friends who live near me took this hard because they worked on Prop 102 (AZ’s equivalent of 8), so I haven’t said anything publicly (except here). Such an exciting day!

  8. Emily U says:

    I wish I could do an experiment where the legal question of whether citizens (i.e. not a state’s governor and state lawyers) have the legal standing to represent the state in court was tested in the context of the citizens defending a law that liberals really wanted but the courts had struck down. (Essentially the opposite of what happened with Prop 8). Would conservatives still say it was wrong? Would the Church still say it “has highlighted troubling questions about how our democratic and judicial system operates?”

    I doubt it.


  9. KLC says:

    Emily U, your experiment already exists and TopHat illustrated it. The SC ruled that treating one segment of our nation differently than another regarding restrictions on passing voting legislation was over. Liberals in general and TopHat in this post mourned that decision, the other side did not. The next day the SC ruled that treating one segment of our nation differently than another regarding restrictions on marriage was over. Liberals in general and TopHat in this post celebrated that decision, the other side did not.

    Two different topics but both upholding the same principle of equal treatment under the law, yet the supporters and detractors switch sides depending on their politics. We all do it, conservatives and liberals.

  10. Hydrangea says:

    Emily U- I’m glad I wasn’t the only one who was bothered by the Church’s tactless response. Yes, the decision may have struck down a law put in effect by state referendum, but when laws violate rights, that’s the Supreme Court’s duty. Where would the U.S. be without rulings like Brown v. Board of Education or Plessy v. Fergeson- times when the Supreme Court has forced social change and acceptance when population wasn’t ready to play fair or give up discrimination.

  11. Emily U says:

    KLC, I beg to differ. Not that both sides are capable of hypocrisy. They are. I disagree that the voting rights decision is the same legal question as Prop 8. Prop 8 was about whether private citizens have the legal standing to defend a law. The voting rights decision was about whether the federal government can apply different levels of oversight to the voting practices of different states. It’s not the same question.

    In theory I agree with the SCOTUS decision on voting rights. Using a history of voting discrimination as a test for federal oversight doesn’t seem right, since at some point history is history. But when I see the voting “tests” that were used to disenfranchise African Americans (see below for one from 1964 Louisiana) I think, wow maybe being hands-off this isn’t good. Maybe federal oversight is needed for every jurisdiction and for all time. That’s apparently not going to happen, so I hope the individual states have learned to do the right thing by now.

    As Hydrangea said, sometimes we need the Supreme Court to force change when the population isn’t ready to give up discrimination. Pure democracy can by tyranny to minorities.


  1. January 17, 2016

    […] couple of weeks ago, I was asked in a comment to elaborate on my remark that labyrinths are a symbol of Heavenly Mother and share other symbols of Her. I think it is important to remember that symbols means as much as […]

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