Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A Campus (and State) Divided

American River College is located in Sacramento, California, and has a student body of around 37,000 students. Aside from being located in California's state capital, the campus is serving as a microcosm of the rest of the state in other ways, too.

Sparking heated controversy, the college's student council voted to go on record as supporting Proposition 8, the ballot initiative that could eliminate marriage equality in California.

This has sent a chilling message to LGBT students at the college. As one student put it, it has "made the campus more hostile." But fortunately, LGBT students and their straight pro-equality allies are not being silent.

The students have been busy gathering signatures to recall the members of the student council who voted to stand against equality. Yesterday, they staged a mid-afternoon rally. Among those in attendance were the dissenting members of the student council, and Candace Gingrich, openly gay sister of Newt Gingrich.

One person at the rally, Manny Joslyn, an 18-year-old nursing student who said she planned to marry her girlfriend said, "I didn't come out of the closet … to be pushed back in by hate."

Now is the time for voters across California both young and old to spread the word about voting "no" on Proposition 8. A recent poll shows that opponents of equality may currently have the lead. We can not allow the freedom to marry to be stripped away.

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