I’m still too tired from staying up until 3:30 am last night watching Christopher Dido‘s livestream from the rotunda of the Texas Capitol to do any kind of long writeup, but last night was incredible. Senator Wendy Davis staged a 13 hour filibuster to stall a bill that would close almost all of Texas’s abortion providers. With a little over an hour to go before the special legislative session expired, the GOP used bullshit strongarm tactics to make her shut up, at which point the rest of the democratic senators began a campaign of de-facto filibustering via parliamentary inquiry. Kirk Watson managed to make a question about obvious “germane-ness” of Roe v. Wade to an abortion bill (something the GOP had challenged to make Wendy stop) last about ten minutes. Leticia Van de Putte, who had left her father’s funeral to be there, brought down the house when, after Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst continually refused to recognize her, she asked, “At what point must a female senator raise her hand or her voice to be recognized over her male colleagues?” Finally, with about thirteen minutes to go before midnight, Dewhurst stopped even pretending to listen to the senators and tried to force a vote through. At which point the assembled crowd in the gallery shouted down the legislature in a glorious People’s Filibuster until time expired.
There was some drama thereafter about the GOP trying to claim that the disruption to procedure was a “time out” and they could still vote after midnight, and then more drama when the official record of the vote–originally showing it to have happened at 12:03–was mysteriously changed to 11:59. But in the end the vote died, and Cecile Richards led the people in the rotunda in a chorus of “The Eyes of Texas,” and it was beautiful. For a more extensive writeup, there’s this, and likely many others.
And then, this morning, the wonderful news that the Supreme Court has struck down Prop 8 and the Defense Of Marriage Act as unconstitutional. Of course, just yesterday they gutted the Voting Rights Act in a fashion that, among other things, will likely make it much harder for one Wendy Davis to keep her seat in the Texas Senate. (She won in through a VRA challenge to a redistricting that disenfranchised minority voters.) Scalia’s pissy dissent, in which he calls it “jaw-dropping” that the court should overrule two other branches of government, is especially galling in light of the VRA decision he signed on to literally the day before. But I spend so much of my time being enraged, and have so few pure opportunities for happiness and optimism in the power of big-hearted people to work for and effect positive change. I’m counting today as a win worth celebrating.