Rick Santorum Stands by as Violence Erupts at Rally – Marriage Equality Filmmakers Attacked

By Melanie Nathan,  February 18, 2012.

After an exhilarating morning at the historic signing of WA State’s Marriage Equality Bill by Governor Christine Gregoire, Kristina Lapinski of GAY USA the Movie, and I attended the Rick Santorum rally held in Tacoma, at the Washington Historical Museum’s outdoor amphitheater.  Little did we know that we would be the catalysts for the call for secret service to protect Santorum from future protests by lesbians and a few kids with green hair exercising their democratic rights.

We heard the GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum was in town holding a private anti-gay meeting at a local Evangelical church to support foes of the new equality legislation.  The meeting was behind closed doors and so we figured that if we were going to capture any footage of Santorum’s anti-gay slander for the movie we would have to attend the evening rally.

Kristina set her tripod in the front row, amidst the supporters and pointed it toward the podium which was raised at the top of the stairwell some 30 feet up, with a view down to the crowd.  There was no lighting on the podium and so we used our own.

Finally after a cold hour Santorum appeared and the crowd cheered “Pick Rick; pick Rick.”

Santorum spoke, and my discomfort hit ‘like a ton of bricks.’ I was standing there listening to the man who was crusading on this special Washington equality day, against my basic civil rights. I was standing below the man who wanted America to believe that my children did not deserve recognition of their family, and it infuriated me!

At first I could not understand why Santorum’s supporters were making so much noise while he was speaking and then realized that there was a group of about 10 young people, some with green and others with purple hair, bellowing “This is what democracy looks like; this is what democracy looks like.”

They drowned out Santorum who could barely be heard over their chants.  Unlike other press reports there was no sparring going on. Santorum continued his monologue and the protestors continued their chant.   He did not respond to the context of their chants, but rather linked them to President Obama while denigrating the President.

Instead of continuing to sit next to Kristina as she filmed, I lost myself to the impulse and moved over to join them. I threw my hands into the air and began to chant too!

Kristina had not yet noticed that this was going on and when she turned around and saw me, I signaled at the spotlight that we had placed there shining on Santorum. She left her camera rolling on the tripod and ran to the spotlight and turned it on me and the protestors.

The tripod camera remained on Santorum, while Kristina pointed her smaller camera on the crowd. She too got caught in the moment and stood in front of me and my new found protesting friends, and yelled out “Hey the Governor signed marriage equality into law today,  GAY MARRIAGE IS OKAY; GAY MARRIAGE IS OKAY.”  And soon the protestors and I joined her “GAY MARRIAGE IS OKAY!”

I realized that someone had turned the spotlight off the crowd and Kristina returned to the tripod to protect her camera from two Santorum supporters who were trying to tip it over.  They tried to block her filming but she moved aside from them despite being pushed away.

I left the chanters to turn our spotlights back onto the crowd. Just then while they were still chanting, “Gay Marriage is okay,” Santorum started to talk about Prop 8, saying “anybody that disagrees with their decision to strike down prop 8 in California, (are told) they do so because they are irrational…..” and then his voice drowned out as a group of police officers approached the protestors.

Santorum was silent as the officers breached the stands without warning, grabbing two protestors, pulling them out of the crowd, as can be seen on our video.  Santorum watched from above and did not comment on the fracas. Instead he watched as the police tased a young man on the ground, face down, held by three police officers even though not resisting.

In the meantime Kristina was still fighting off the two burly men, to keep her camera rolling. They were shoving her around and putting their backs and hand in front of her camera.

A campaign staffer tried to tussle the spotlight away from me. I held onto it tightly, screaming at him not to touch me while shining it on the police as a group of photographers clambered around the young man being held down.  I kept the light on and she kept filming.

The police put cuffs on two young men and dragged them along the ground away from the venue, while the crowd of Santorum supporters chanted U.S.A. U.S.A. U.S.A.  Santorum watched in silence.

After a man had motioned a gun in his pocket at Kristina she came over to me and we decided that we should leave for our safety. People were coming up to us, surrounding us, cussing and shouting insults. We have footage of those who attacked and threatened us, but are not releasing it at this time.

One well dressed and manicured older woman left her seat and ran after me as I was leaving, grabbed my shoulder shouting “one day you will lay dying and you will think about this and know you are going to hell.”

Santorum stood by and tried so hard to find language to elevate himself as better than the protestors, trying to use the situation to denigrate the President, yet did nothing to stop the violence and while not for a second in danger himself, is now apparently using this event to request our tax dollars to provide him with secret service protection for the duration of his campaign.

While Santorum’s sanctimonious grumble echoed over the microphone that night, purporting tolerance and condemning the natter that calls him a bigot and hater, his supporters and staff were actually fulfilling the designation right in front of his eyes; bullying a blogger and a manhandling the filmmaker!

Below is a portion of the video footage shot by Kristina Lapinski at the event.

http://vimeo.com/36955646

Gay Marriage Protesting Tased at Santorum Rally from www.gayusathemovie.com on Vimeo.

———————————————

GAY USA The Movie http://gayusathemovie.com/2012/02/two-lesbians-filming-gay-u-s-a-movie-attacked-by-santorum-supporters/

The Seattle Lesbian http://www.theseattlelesbian.com/top-news/2012/2/17/new-video-lesbian-filmmaker-and-blogger-attacked-by-rick-san.html

SDGLN http://www.sdgln.com/news/2012/02/14/protester-tazed-rick-santorum-rally-after-chanting-gay-marriage-ok

ON TOP MAGAZINE http://www.ontopmag.com/article.aspx?id=10952&MediaType=1&Category=26


One thought on “Rick Santorum Stands by as Violence Erupts at Rally – Marriage Equality Filmmakers Attacked

  1. Unbelievable!!!

    And scary- that this idiot, Santorum, has so many hateful goose-steppers in that crowd…Those people did nothing to merit them being wrestled to the ground & cuffed- likewise- who the h*ll did those guys think they were to stand in front of the camera to block the recording? They may not like it, but they were actually preventing the rights of the person to film the event as it happened…Man, the USA gets more depressing & frightening every day.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.