Maybe I'm a pessimist, or maybe it's the rain, or maybe it's the searing lesson from when gay marriage was on the ballot in California, or maybe it's because I was raised by people who would never vote for gay marriage, or maybe it's all of the above, but I keep thinking: Referendum 74 is not going to pass. That's my opinion, if anyone asks. The polls are just too close. The opposition's message (you can vote against gay marriage and not be anti-gay) is too clever. The probability of people lying to pollsters because they don't want to fess up to wanting to deny people rights is too great. Plus, history must be taken into account: every single goddamn time it's been put up for a popular vote somewhere, it's failed.
But man—opening the New York Times today to this gigantic image of two Referendum 74 canvassers in Seattle brightened my day. Lifted my pessimism a little. Gave me some hope! This excellent photo is by Matthew Ryan Williams and everything about it is happy-making. And not just because one of the canvassers is dressed as Max from Where the Wild Things Are and the other has a clown nose on. The late-fall light, all the different yellows, the Seattle architecture in perspective, the composition overall, the subjects marching together down a path (into the future!), the ground beneath the one guy's foot... Plus, the article points out that Referendum 74 may very well be approved here, if narrowly—in spite of my pessimism! (It's not like I've given up; in fact, I'm going canvassing tonight.) The article also points out that gay marriage is faring even better in polls in Maine than it is here, and that even a single victory at the ballot, whether here or in Maine, "will be a turning point," so says the Human Rights Campaign.
According to the caption, the two volunteers in the photo are David Wieland and Chase Nordengrem. According to a little light Googling, Wieland is a senior fellow at Washington Bus. God bless Washington Bus. And God bless everyone else who's volunteering for Referendum 74—canvassing, phone banking, donating money, all of it. Even if this thing doesn't pass, it's been amazing to see the city rally behind it. And nice costumes, guys.