Oct 102002
Authors: Willow Welter

A CSU student organization plans to make a “peaceful, positive presence” while an anti-gay group pickets at the Homecoming game.

CSU’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender student organization plans to quietly counteract the Westboro Baptist Church’s picket by making their side of the controversy known.

The Westboro group plans to protest with an anti-gay message, while the GLBT plans to present the opposite viewpoint.

“We’re not doing anything,” said Dave Savitsky, a staff member at GLBT student services. “We’re just being there.”

What sounds like a simple plan includes a whole week of quiet dignity, from GLBT’s participation in the Homecoming parade to the buttons and signs the group plans to sport at various events.

Although members of GLBT plan to march in the parade, they will not do it as the organized GLBT organization. Rather, they will march with the “Stop Hate Coalition,” a cooperative of many students and groups on campus, both gay and straight, who support equal rights and treatment of gay people.

“We’ll be focusing on stopping hate in general,” said Rod Rodriguez, student coordinator for GLBT student services, “and not focusing on one person or group.”

The Westboro group, who travels the country to preach against homosexuality, plans to protest at the homecoming game, displaying signs that read, “God Hates Fags” and other similar messages. WBC’s leader, Fred Phelps, said his group’s goal on Saturday is to “celebrate the 4th anniversary of Matthew Shepard’s entry into Hell.”

Shepard died in Fort Collins in 1998 after two men, now convicted for the murder, beat Shepard and tied him to a fence in Wyoming. The men later admitted they killed Shepard because he was gay.

The members of GLBT have made buttons to wear and distribute during Homecoming week, with many phrases printed on them.

“This is What Transgendered Looks Like,” “Stop Hate,” “Love not Hate” and “Bisexual Love,” are a few of the messages on the buttons.

Participants in the “Peaceful Positive Presence” campaign will carpool to Hughes Stadium parking lot, where they will make their presence known while the WBC pickets.

Savitsky said more information on the Saturday picket is available at www.colostate.edu/depts/glbtss.

-Edited by Colleen Buhrer, Shandra Jordan and Josh Hardin

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