“Why today, Lord? Why now?”
The shouting of protesters could be heard from three blocks away. They had been camped out in front of the county courthouse for several hours now. People were chanting and yelling at passers-by, ruining the peace of an otherwise lovely afternoon in September. I had driven past them several times in the hopes that they would leave, but I’m usually not that lucky.
I didn’t have any business with these people. I simply wanted to pay the fines for my traffic tickets. Unfortunately, I had to cross the picket line in order to get into the court house. It took me around twenty minutes to work up the nerve to actually proceed with my original plan, instead of just leaving and returning on a more peaceful afternoon. It did me no good to procrastinate about paying my fines out of cowardice. I took a deep breath, lifted my chin, and walked towards the front entrance of the courthouse.
“It’s not natural!”
“God doesn’t allow it!”
“You are either with us or against us!”
I swallowed hard but kept walking. I didn’t want to hear any of this. This wasn’t my business, not my fight. I just wanted to pay my debt to society before it got out of hand. Suddenly, just as I approached the bottom of the courthouse stairs, I heard a rather aggressive, male voice call out from the throng surrounding me.
“Hey! You can’t just walk past us! We refuse to be ignored!”
I froze on the spot. There was no way that voice wasn’t referring to me. If only I was feeling more confident that day. I probably would have just kept walking and ignored him. Instead, I turned slowly as a heavy set man carrying a “God Hates Fags” sign walked over to me.
“What do you think you’re doing?” he roared.
I pointed toward the courthouse above us, so close and yet so far. “Going in there.”
“Not today, you aren’t.” he replied sternly, stepping closer.
My heart dropped. “Why not?” I asked feebly.
The loud man started shaking his finger in the courthouse’s direction. “If those bastards think that they can legalize this BLASPHEMY, them NOTHING’S getting done TODAY!!” His skin was beginning to turn a shade of bright red while he yelled.
“Oh.” I nodded feebly. There wasn’t anything else I could say. My brain was too busy thinking of escape strategies.
“OH! Is that all you have to say? Aren’t you pissed off about it? The Government trying to push the gay agenda down our throats.” The irate man leaned down towards me, closer to my eye level.
“Umm…well…” was all I could manage. I wasn’t pissed off about it at all. In fact, I was glad the government was making this particular decision. It upheld one of the founding principles of this country. People can do whatever they please in the pursuit of happiness, within the confines of the law. The state shouldn’t dictate who people could talk to, what they should believe in, or who they could love.
To be honest, I was tiring of the entire argument. It didn’t make any sense for people to be fighting the way they were. However, I was cornered and pretty sure that the large gentlemen in front of me did not think the same way I did.
“Well, what?” His breath was on my face now. A couple of other protesters had gathered around.
I had to say something. With a sigh, I lifted my chin.
“I don’t think there is much of a gay agenda to be worried about. Not unless you have a severe problem with your socks matching shirts.”
The man’s eyes widened. “What did you just say?” He looked as if he was going to have a heart attack at any second. There was an audible gasp among the crowd.
I must have felt the momentum shift because I kept talking. “I could have sworn this was America, land of the free, home of the brave. You have just as much right to stand here and threaten me with your morals as I do to kiss another lady if I please. It’s not really hurting anybody so have at it, right?”
My opponent’s skin was now approaching a shade of purple as his ire rose. He was obviously not used to anyone standing up for themselves. It took him a moment to compose a counterattack.
“Are you saying you’re one of them God-damned FAGGOTS?!”
I sighed heavily. “No, sir, but I am saying that you are an idiot.” I no longer had the time or the patience to stand around and be yelled at for no reason. Gripping my purse strap for emphasis, I stepped around the now violet gentleman and continued up the stairs. The astonished crowd parted and allowed me to pass freely.
My heart was hammering in my chest so hard; other people could probably hear it. I climbed the stairs quickly, fearing some kind of physical retaliation. Thankfully, it never came. The man only yelled obscenities behind my back, fueled by his supporters.
Once I entered the building, I ducked into the nearest doorway to compose myself. Deep breathing was the only thing I could do to keep from fear crying. I wasn’t sure where this new-found boldness had come from or where it had suddenly disappeared to. Hopefully, confrontations like that won’t become a habit. I don’t think my heart could take it.