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Protesting Inequality

With the first snow of the season falling around them Saturday afternoon, Corky Dunsmore, 50, and Dar Bevelhymer, 58, both of Bowling Green, huddled together underneath a rainbow colored umbrella outside the Union.

Holding each other’s hands for support, the couple of 10 and a half years swayed to the music pumping from a small radio as supportive chants and cheers rose up from around them.

Like the roughly 30 other supporters gathered in the free-speech zone of the Union, Dunsmore and Bevelhymer braved the weather for more than an hour in order to protest the passing of Proposition 8 in California.

Proposition 8, which passed by 52.2 percent of votes on Nov. 4, is a statewide decision making same-sex marriage illegal in California. Before it passed, same-sex marriage was a constitutionally protected right.

‘I want to protect my family, and it’s just about being a family and having someone to come home to in the evening,’ Dunsmore said. ‘Each time [people] pass something like [Proposition 8], I’m surprised how strongly it affects me because it really is a piece of me.’

The protest, which occurred on the same day as similar rallies being held nationwide, was organized by Annie Russell, the director of the University’s LGBT Resource Center. While looking for Proposition 8 protests in the area, Russell realized no rallies were going to be held in Northwest Ohio, which spurred her to create the protest here at the University.

And though Russell said the point of the protest was to raise awareness about Proposition 8, she also noted that the gathering served two other, more significant reasons as well.

‘I want to give everyone here a sense of empowerment and to let people know we’re going to fight for our rights,’ Russell said. ‘I have just as much of a right to marry the woman of my dreams as any man does.’

Like Russell, the men and women who joined her in protesting the controversial proposition felt that it was a step backward in terms of equality for same-sex couples.

Senior Jennifer Dietsch, who appeared at the protest as Super Queer, the mascot of the University’s LGBT student organization Vision, said Proposition 8 means she is seen as unequal in a country that proclaims equality for everyone. For Dietsch, living in a country that refuses to honor her rights as an individual is a country not worth living in, she said.

‘What’s the point of being a citizen if we don’t have equality for all,’ Dietsch said. ‘Equality is worth fighting for.’

And though a majority of supporters were willing to stand side-by-side with the protestors outside the Union, several students decided to give the gatherers their support without actually braving the weather.

Sophomores Mario Amicarelli and Kyle Hesterman, who both believe in civil unions for same-sex couples, said they agree that Proposition 8 takes away a fundamental right all citizens deserve to have, but didn’t want to protest in the snow.’

‘I think they are so brave for standing up for themselves and their beliefs,’ Amircarelli said. ‘This is America, home of the brave, and they are clearly brave.’

However, not everyone watching the protest inside the Union agreed with the cause.

Freshman Brianna Foster said because of her religious beliefs, she considers herself indifferent towards same-sex marriages and civil unions. Foster considers herself nondenominational.

‘I wouldn’t be really mad if they allowed it, but it doesn’t bother me that they [aren’t allowed] to get married,’ Foster said.

But regardless of whether University students supported them or not, protestors attending the rally felt the overall cause of the protest was worth every minute spent in the cold.

‘Every major city across this nation is doing exactly the same thing right now,’ Russell said. ‘If you stand up for marriage, you stand up for love, and that’s all we want.’

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