A chat w/marriage equality activist Diane Olson
Diane Olson usually lets her wife, Robin Tyler, do the speaking up on stage at marriage equality rallies. Not only because Robin is so compelling and inspiring in that kind of situation, but also because Diane is a bit shy in that way.
But this couple, plaintiffs in the suit to overturn Prop. 8, are equally passionate about the cause.
“I’m pretty camera shy personally, I’m not a media hound,” Diane said. “But I have to be honest, if this stops one kid who lives in a middle state from opening a wrist because they can’t be out, I can be uncomfortable for five minutes being in front of a camera. That’s really my motivation. I can afford to be out.”
The higb-proflle activism has its unexpected rewards: “I walked into the Starbucks today and the kids came out from behind the counter and grabbed me and hugged me. I have not had one negative response. But I fortunately live in Los Angeles. ”
I spoke with Diane before the start of a rally in West Hollywood last week on the day the California Supreme Court upheld Prop. 8 which prevents same-sex marriage in the state (except for the 18,000 or so that took place when the marriages were legal for several months last year.)
“I actually was surprised. I was optimistic they’d come down for us,” she said. “I was teased a lot about (my optimism) but I expected them to do the right thing. They didn’t. 6-1 (vote) concerns me terribly and I am personally holding the religious right responsible for this loss. I’m disgusted and I’m angered.”
“It doesn’t feel good that I can be married, Robin can be married, 36,000 people can be married and the rest of my community cannot be married,” she added. “It does not feel good at all.
Diane is the granddaughter of former California Governor Culbert Olson who was in office from 1939 to 1943 and ran ob a platform of separation of church and state. She is ready to take it to the streets to get the state back in the right place.
She says: “I have played nice up to this point. Not anymore. I’m done. I wear this white knot until we have equality for all.”