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Tim Myers: A battle in a war already lost

Posted: May 11, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: May 11, 2013 2:00 a.m.

On May 2, 2013, I took the day off from work to watch the Foothill League tennis tournament. (Results of this tournament posted elsewhere in the pages of this newspaper. Just sayin’!)

Since I take exercise every morning, I left my house in Northbridge at 5:30 a.m. to walk down to Town Center to view the activities surrounding the Mayors Prayer Breakfast at the Hyatt Regency Valencia, 2013 edition.

The Mayors Prayer Breakfast, like most events of local controversy, ebbs and flows over the years. Originally, kneejerk and rather vanilla objections concerning the separation of church and state swirled around the breakfast, but with those receding people focused on the keynote speakers selected.

The last two years provide the bookends of the continuum. In 2012 a multiple amputee gave a message of hope, encouragement and overcoming great obstacles. No one not completely deranged can disagree with the legitimacy of that message.

Well, maybe attendance dropped so this year the organizers doubled down and brought in Brad Dacus, a figure of some "fame" in the same-sex-marriage debate.

When I arrived I saw about 60 folks from the so-called Unity Coalition occupying three public corners in view of the primary entrances to the Hyatt. Inside, the Dunamis Group, led by local elected official, businessman and personal friend Joe Messina, scheduled the lightning rod speaker Brad Dacus, an anti-gay-marriage activist who in the past compared the passage of Proposition 8 to the defeat of Hitler and labeled public educational institutions’ anti-bullying efforts with the label of gay propaganda.

The protesters held up signs asking for tolerance and denouncing hate, including a community prayer that asked God to open the hearts and minds of the 300 or so people attending the breakfast.

In the meantime attendees to the breakfast, most of whom honestly could have used the time to more benefit by eating a yogurt and spending some time on the treadmill, sneaked in, parking at the farthest possible point from the protesters, walking rapidly into the venue and glancing furtively back over their shoulders.

There were two notable exceptions.

Mayor Bob Kellar somewhat bravely came out and allowed an activist to introduce him to the protesters, who made their views known but I believe treated him with respect. TimBen Boydston, a City Council member, spent several minutes actively speaking to at least a dozen protesters.

But the rest of the 311 who attended the function frankly looked like the inner circle of a defeated regime retreating into its last secure bunker, moving around models of armies that no longer exist over territory they no longer control, but secretly wondering how long before they need to sign the instrument of unconditional surrender.

For while the folks inside felt secure concerning their own views, a horde of contrary opinion swirls outside. Opinion polls show an astounding change in the views of people in all demographics concerning same-sex marriage, particularly those under the age of 25 with an almost 90 percent acceptance rate, which means the calendar will solve this problem once and for all.

And while those inside prayed with what those outside called a bigot and homophobe, Rhode Island became the tenth state in the nation to legalize same-sex marriage, which now reigns throughout the New England states.

Further, even if the Supreme Court finds a way to reverse the Ninth Circuit ruling overturning Proposition 8 in June, most agree that a new ballot initiative will easily overturn Proposition 8 in the future.

This would place nearly 50 percent of the population of the United States in states that allow same-sex marriage.

Personally, I knew these folks’ views lost when two things occurred. In a previous column I discussed how the Republican, Democratic and Libertarian clubs at CSU-Channel Islands, where our daughter will graduate this May, held a joint rally to support gay marriage.

Even closer to home, our 18-year-old (straight) son felt elated and uplifted when an out and proud former classmate posted birthday greetings on his Facebook page stating that he should consider working as an underwear model. Can anyone imagine that occurring even five years ago?

Oh, the Mayors Prayer Breakfast will occur again, and probably for several years, but I predict that nearly half of the folks who attended on that Thursday will deny they did by the end of this year.

I can also predict with some certainty that the title will change, since the very mayor invited (and attending) stated publicly that he hoped they would change the name.

Then perhaps it might actually become an uplifting event.

Timothy Myers is a Valencia resident. "Myers’ Musings" publishes Saturdays in The Signal.


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