Proposition 8 protest calls for equal rights

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By Emily Herbick

University students and Champaign-Urbana families took to the streets Saturday to protest the recent passing of Proposition 8 in California which bans gay marriage.

The proposition, which was approved during the Nov. 4 election, reverses the previous recognition of such unions.

The protestors congregated near the intersection of Green and Wright streets shouting chants like, “Gay, straight, black, white! Marriage is a civil right!”

This protest was part of a larger movement taking place on campuses and in major cities all over the country. The protest began at 12:30 p.m. nationwide.

The event in Campustown was sponsored by the Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Resources and was organized by Brooke Elliot, senior in Education, and Virginia McCreary, graduate student.

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    Elliot said they planned a protest on campus because many people were not able to get to Chicago for its protest.

    “I hope it raises awareness that there are a lot of people out there who believe in equal rights for marriage and human rights in general for people of all sexualities,” McCreary said.

    About 80 protestors stood on the corners with colorful signs. Some cars driving down Green Street honked in support of the cause.

    At 1 p.m. the protestors had a moment of silence which was broken by a car honking in support of the protest. The protestors then marched down Green Street to Fourth Street and back again shouting their message and waving their signs.

    The protestors were met with little resistance.

    On two occasions, groups of students walking past the protestors made remarks in opposition of the protest.

    One worker at Potbelly Sandwich Works opened the door as the protestors were walking past and said, “Good job guys!”

    Among the protestors were Michelle Franke, her partner Michelle Chappell and their 5-year-old daughter Rose Chappell-Franke of Champaign.

    Rose held a sign that said, “My family is equal.”

    Lauren Segal, sophomore in Engineering, attended the event to support equal rights.

    “I think rights shouldn’t be taken away just because of your sexual orientation,” she said. “They should be for everyone.”

    Desiree Gualandri, senior in LAS, was also in attendance. She said University students participate in this issue because this exciting time in our country is the “last frontier on civil rights.”

    William Blanchard, junior in LAS and co-chair of Equal Marriage Illinois of Champaign County, also attended the protest. He said that younger people are more understanding of the struggles through which LGBT people go.

    “The issue is important right now because most Americans are starting to see this issue as one of fairness and equality for all people,” he said.