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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Book of Matthew: All you need is love

Published: October 30, 2009
Section: Opinions

On Nov. 3, Maine residents will head to the polls to vote on Question 1, which, if approved by a majority of voters, will overturn the recent law allowing same-sex marriage.

The following is a work of fiction. It is not an account of an actual protest.

The city streets were quiet most days. Apart from the rare car puttering over the cracked asphalt roads or the occasional pedestrian peering into a lonely shop window, they saw little excitement.

But this was not most days. On this day, the streets were filled with protesters.

Men and women marched in droves, holding high colorful, decorated signs and flags that fluttered in the wind as they were waved back and forth.

Preserve The Sanctity Of Marriage, read one. One Man, One Woman, read another.

In the back, a group held up a giant, brilliant yellow banner. SAVE MAINE FROM THE LIBERALS, read the enormous text, which was surrounded by pictures of men holding hands and President Obama wearing a Hitler mustache.

Some of the protesters carried Bibles; a few even sang hymns. Many more carried crosses, which they waved about their persons as if cleansing the air around them of an invisible evil.

At the front of the pack, the leaders of the mob paved the way with intermittent blasts from their megaphones. Their chants ricocheted off buildings and could be heard down the various surrounding alleyways.

“Vote Yes on Question 1!”

“Protect Maine families!”

“Stop the gay agenda!”

“God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve!”

Raucous cheers from the crowd met every blaring shout.

More onlookers arrived to see what the commotion was about. Many of them watched, wide-eyed, as the mob passed. A few even joined in, taking up the chant.

Policemen arrived at the scene as well, intent on keeping order. But they soon grew nervous when they saw what the mob was approaching at the end of the street.

A small group of people stood on the side of the road, opposite the protesters. They did not chant. They did not even seem to be organized. They stood quietly, staring down the mob.

And in the middle of them stood a boy.

He was young and small for his age, so small that he stood out in the crowd full of adults. Peering out from behind loose strands of tousled blond hair, his eyes took in the scene with wonder.

Flanking him were two middle-aged women. They had their own small, makeshift signs, which they held in the faces of the oncoming protesters. NO ON QUESTION 1 was written upon both of them, in hastily scribbled permanent marker.

One of the women put her hand on the boy’s shoulder. He looked up at her. She wore an odd expression on her face, a mix of sadness, anger, and a slew of other emotions that he did not recognize.

His little hand held a small flag that she had given him. Rainbow striped, it was imprinted with a few gentle, cursive words that almost sank into the background.

All you need is love.

The boy held the flag limply by his side. He was too young to know what those words meant; too young to know where they came from. He did not understand why he had that little flag, nor why he was staring at angry protesters who had their own flags, and who looked so angry at—and so afraid of—his two mothers.

But he understood the feeling of the hand on his shoulder. The same loving touch that wiped away his tears when he cried, that carried him when he felt tired, that tied the shoelaces that he had yet to master. He understood the feeling of security, of stability in the home that had been made for him. And he understood that, despite the advancing mob, he was safe.

The flag rustled a bit in his hand.

Most of the protesters—still under the watchful eyes of the policemen—paid them little heed when they passed. A few jeered at his mothers—cries of “spawn of Satan” could be heard over all the noise.

But none of them bothered to look at the little boy. To the protesters, he would forever be invisible. No matter how much he stood out of the crowd.