Liveblogging Plenary 3

5:10 p.m. MDT

And everyone heads off to the rally for immigrant rights….

5:05 p.m. MDT

There’s another motion to refer this motion back to the Commission on Social Witness. It needs a two-thirds vote. Gini Courter says the motion carries on a visual vote. “By a whisker,” says someone near me.

So the peacemaking SOC goes back to the Commission on Social Witness for additional study….

4:58 p.m. MDT

We’re getting into convoluted parliamentary procedures. Gini Courter says, “Now I’ve even confused our general counsel.” She explains, tries to call for a vote, but now the parliamentarian consults with her. The vote is on calling the question. The delegates vote to call the question. The vote to refeer the question failed to get two-thirds vote. Back to the amendment microphone.

Some people still look confused (I’m one of them). But here we are, back where we were ten minutes ago….

4:53 p.m. MDT

A motion is been made to refer this whole motion back to the Commission on Social Witness. A few groans audible from the delegates. The motion to refer has to get a two-thirds vote…. (more…)

Plenary I

8:32 p.m.

I turn to the person next to me. “That was a moving talk,” I say.

She says, “I’m an emotional dishrag.”

8:27 p.m.

Bill Sinkford is thanking all the people with whom he’s worked over the past eight years as the UUA president. “No solo acts,” he says, recognizing UUA staff, lay leaders, and others. He recognizes and thanks his wife and children as well. The audience is particularly quiet and attentive — except when they applaud. “This has been a journey of faith,” he says, referring to his term as president — and the crowd stands up and gives sustained applause, a few people waving to Sinkford.

“Thank you Mr. President,” says Gini Courter, “I think we love you.” I think most of those here in this crowd would agree with statement, after such a moving President’s report.

7:46 p.m.

There are two local reporters sitting a few seats away from me. They are listening intently as Bill Sinkford talks about how the UUA supports same sex marriage. “How many of you are from Iowa?” asks Bill Sinkford, “Raise your hands!” — and then he asks how many of those assemlbed are from Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, and Massachusetts, all the states where same-sex marriage is legal. Bill Sinkford promises that the UUA will fight until same-sex marriage is legal in all states, a remark that is greeted by applause — and both reporters applaud, too. It will be interesting to read the local news coverage of General Assembly.

7:39 p.m. MDT

“Here for his eighth and final report to the General Assembly,” says Gini Courter, “the Rev. William G. Sinkford. Bill Sinkford comes to the microphone, and there’s a standing ovation for him, and in honor of his service.

7:24 p.m. MDT

Gini Courter is announcing that the only item of business for this first plenary session is to adopt rules of procedures. She goes over the various rules and procedures for conducting business. She shows where the pro and con microphones are, the amendment microphone, etc. etc. Boring stuff, but somehow Gini manages to make it entertaining, and actually gets some laughs out of the assembled delegates.

Gini introduces Gordon Martin, the General Assembly parliamentarian, who has been serving in that role for 40 years. He gets a round of aplause, and a few people actually stand up to applaud him. Where else would a parliamentarian get this kind of applause?

The delegates adopt the rule of procedure, and Gini says, “Yes, now celebrate your first vote.” Another laugh, and a few cheers.

Banner Parade

I’m sitting in the front row of the plenary hall. The band from the Salt Lake City church’s jazz vespers is playing some cool jazz, and the banner parade has begun.

People from all over the United States carrying banners from their Unitarian Universalist congregations — from Utah, from Colorado, from Devon, Pennsylvania, from Long Beach, California….

The people behind me are cheering the churches they know, shouting: “Yay Maryland! All Souls! Wooo!”

Now there are some people carrying a big white banner, with big bold red and blue letters, which reads: “IOWA: Where I Can Marry the One I Love.” This banner, recognizing that same-sex marriage is now legal in Iowa, brings lots of cheers from the crowd.

And the banner parade ends with UUA Moderator Gini Courter announcing, “I now call to order the 48th annual General Assembly….”