The story begins with me going into his office, us shaking hands politely and introducing ourselves.
COG:I just want to let you know from the start, the thought of two guys together, or two girls together is just repulsive to me.
Me: [awkward silence] Um, well sir....that is your opinion and and you are entitled to have your own opinion...
COG:I just don't get it, I mean I watched that Brokeback Mountain movie, because I wanted to see what all the talk was about. I almost threw up!
Me: [again awkward silence] I haven't seen it so I really can't comment on the movie. I would however like to talk with you about three different bills.
Yeah...it started a little rocky, but got better as I thanked him for being one of two Republicans in the house to support the school anti-bullying act. He shockingly also talked on the floor about why Republicans should support the bill in its entirety. Here is part of his response...
COG: It's an important bill. I wish more Republicans would support it. I mean, if a boy is small because he hasn't had a growth spurt yet, or his voice hasn't changed people shouldn't be allowed to call him faggot...you know? It's not his fault, and who knows, if they keep calling him faggot he might just choose to be gay to make it easier.
Me: [trying to control my facial expressions] It is an important bill, and hopefully you being passionate about it will help other Republicans to see the value it has for our students across the state.
COG: Well I don't agree about having that girl speak.
Me: I'm sorry sir, can you please explain. I don't know who you are talking about.
COG: They had this 16 year old girl on the floor talk about how she was picked on, and I just think that was a bad idea. They should have had a boy whose voice hadn't changed, or who was small for his age. They had this girl, who must have weighed 250-300 pounds talk about being picked on for being a lesbian. She probably chose to be that way because the boys don't like her. If she lost some weight and put some effort into her looks she could get a boyfriend. She's just taking the easy way out.
Me: [trying very very hard to control my face and tone of voice] I didn't see the segment, so I don't really feel comfortable commenting. I would however like to talk with you about your support of DOMA. I would appreciate it if you would help me to understand your perspective, as denying someone the right to have legal protection of a relationship does nothing to hurt or invalidate heterosexual marriages.
We then got into a lengthy discussion about elements he was completely ignorant about including taxes, distribution of property, social security, children, etc. As much as we OBVIOUSLY disagree, he could understand where I was coming and (shockingly) would support some legal protection....as long as there is no title that validates relationships....I'm still trying to wrap my brain around that answer.
Finally I brought up the Employee Non-Discrimination Act that is being introduced that would protect state employees (and teachers!) from being harassed and/or fired based on their sexual orientation or gender expression.
Me: Now that you know a little more about it, what is your position on this bill?
COG: I completely support it!
COG: Oh yes, as long as it doesn't mean that they can go around trying to convince students to be gay.
Me: [deep breath] No sir. It's just to protect them from losing their job if their employer finds out that they happen to be gay. All of this is based on the aspect that a person's sexuality does not affect their ability to perform their job and should not be a factor or threat in termination.
And if you thought, there can't be anything else....you would be mistaken....
COG: Before you go, may I ask you a question?
Me: [oh lord] Yes, sir.
COG: Are you married?
Me: [pause, because I must have heard wrong] I'm sorry what?
COG: Are you married?
Me: [awkward pause] Sir....the state won't let me get married.
ME: Sir, the state won't let me get married. That's why I'm here today talking with you.
COG: [awkward pause] Oh. Oh!
Yes. Homeboy JUST REALIZED 30 minutes into our conversation that he was talking with a big gay. Apparently my femme dress clothes (white dress shirt with pink accent, brown pants with light pink pin striping, brown heels), honkin' big purse-I borrowed my roommate's because I had a lot of stuff to carry-and jewelry threw him off. I thanked him for his time, his support of two bills, and hoped he would consider protecting the rights of his constituents rather than deny them. We shook hands and I left, trying not to laugh as he was still visibly shaken. As soon as I got out of the building I started calling people, because that situation was just TOO funny to keep to myself.
If you made it to the end of this lengthy post, I hope you enjoyed. As I've told this story several times it sounds more obscure each time. I mean, I know I was there but it felt very surreal so I can only imagine how it reads. My mom laughed hysterically at the last part, my girlfriend thinks it's hilarious-she fell apart laughing and said, "Didn't you know to be gay you have to have a really bad haircut, wear a tie and carry a briefcase? Maybe you're just taking the easy way out because finding a good man can be hard these days.", and my comic friend is using the last part in her routine...because seriously, you just can't make this sh*t up...