Allen and the amendment rally on Court Square

Brent Finnegan -- October 27th, 2006

Big news day for the burg… If I had a laptop, this would be my first attempt at a live blog, but I’ll do my best to update this post as soon as I can…

Goodlatte was in town to support the amendment on Monday, Jim Webb and Mark Warner stopped at Court Square yesterday (though Webb said he believes “marriage is between a man and a woman”), and the Republicans put together a pro-amendment rally featuring George Allen, taking place today on the Courthouse steps.

Word has it that opponents of the amendment have a very special protest planned for when Allen visits.

In related news, Cargill, under pressure from local Republican politicians and the VFF, gave Luis Padilla his job back.

WSVA is reporting that Gail Parker may withdraw from the senate race. This is big news because it could give a few percentage points to Webb.

Meanwhile, in the local “blogosphere,” Saxman and Deeds and other bloggers have been debating the marriage amendment over at Republitarian.

POST-RALLY UPDATE:

If you weren’t on Court Square at noon today, you missed some crazy moments. Don’t know the official numbers, but lots of Allen/amendment supporters were there, and I’d say more than half as many anti-amendment/gay rights activists at a counter protest on the sidewalk.

The stars of the counter-rally included Barbara and Linda, a lesbian couple who got married right then and there, and a faux-Republican named Eric. He was in character, shouting right-wing slogans and holding up over-the-top “anti-gay” slogans. Tongue firmly in cheek.

Sloop, Welty, Obenshain, and Allen orated on the preservation of the sanctity of marriage, and warned supporters that activist judges will legislate from the bench if the amendment fails. But the pro-amendment speaker that caught my attention was Luis Padilla, the recently re-hired Cargill employee (to Allen’s right in this pic). I saw Allen and his Rebublican colleagues (Lohr, Saxman, Cline, etc) squirm a bit when he started talking about his American dream to become a citizen of the US. Padilla was on the verge of tears his entire five minutes, saying that he wanted to meet George Bush and James Dobson.

When Allen was speaking, the protesters moved up to the side of the steps and there was a near scuffle as amendment supporters moved in to block the sign several college girls were holding. Lots of yelling and bickering from both sides, not really a lot of new points or mind-changing civil conversations taking place afterward.

At one point, some lady asked me if I wanted an Allen sticker. When I declined, she said, “Well, I think you need to stand down there with those [gay rights activist] people.”

After the event, some people mingled and chatted as the emotional yelling died down. The majority of the crowd dispersed to go about their normal Friday routine.

12 Responses to “Allen and the amendment rally on Court Square”

  1. Gxeremio says:

    I will try to have an update on the Webb event up later today. I was working on it for like half and hour and lost it. Grr!

  2. Kai says:

    Finnegan: You sure Saxman was there? One of Allen’s political aids looks very much like Chris Saxon but is NOT him – I’ve met both of them and I shook hands today with who I thought was Saxman saying, “Hi Mr Saxon” and he said, “Chaz [Senator Allen’s aid]. I’m Chaz – but Chris and I get it all the time!”

  3. Adam Sharp says:

    That would be Charles “Chaz” Haywood-Evans, who will be running for Clerk of the Court for Rockingham-Harrisonburg. He’s qualified to hold that position because he’s a Republican working for Allen.

    Anyway, I think that’s his basic message. Maybe he’ll elaborate next year.

  4. Adam Sharp says:

    “In related news, Cargill, under pressure from local Republican politicians and the VFF, gave Luis Padilla his job back.”

    *massive headache*

  5. Adam Sharp says:

    Wait, wait, wait. At some point the pain in my head lifted and I thought clearly for a moment.

    Is Luis Padilla a citizen? If not, is he entitled to free speech protection?

    What hath Welty wrought?

  6. Josh says:

    I’m still confused about whether or not this was a “free speech” issue.

    I think there’s more to this story than what we’ve been told–we’ve been told it was a “big misunderstanding.” If Luis Padilla was, in fact, harassing fellow employees, then Cargill didn’t only have the right to remedy the situation, they had an obligation to do so.

    Unfortunately, this entire situation and it’s handling makes Cargill look unprofessional and now folks like Padilla can be paraded around stages as a political puppet, representing “oppressed” Christians everywhere.

  7. briggman says:

    Adam, Chris Saxman WAS there…I greeted him.

    Chaz is qualified to hold the position of Clerk of the Circuit Court.

    Like most other Constitutional officers, it’s largely a position of trust…competency and knowledge, which Chaz has, is a plus. Padilla’s not a citizen, but he is hear legally…I thought I was going to puke while he was speaking.

    For the record, I’m voting for Allen and against the Amendment.

  8. Adam Sharp says:

    Uh, Dave, that was Kai who didn’t think Delegate Saxman was at the rally.

    I would hope that voters would pick someone who has had experience working in the clerk’s office over someone who just works for somebody important. That’s what I meant by “qualified.”

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