Signs proclaiming love and justice adorned the crowd gathering
in Old Town Square to celebrate National Freedom to Marry Day on
“Around the country, people are waking up to the fact that gay
and lesbian families have been living, working, playing, paying
taxes for decades,” said Michael Brewer, director of legal outreach
for The Center, a gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community
Brewer was one of many people that spoke to the large crowd, the
majority supporting same-sex marriages.
“We are neighbors and coworkers,” Brewer said. “We buy food at
the same grocery stores and use the same parks.”
Those attending the celebration braved the dropping temperatures
and enthusiastically chanted ‘yes’ while listening to rhetoric
denouncing Representative Marilyn Musgrave, R-Colo, and the Federal
Marriage Amendment she is currently proposing.
“In Colorado, gay and straight and transgender people are taking
to the streets, they’re contacting their state legislators telling
them not to support the resolution in favor of Musgrave’s
amendment,” Brewer said. “They’re getting out the message. Hands
off our constitution.”
Under the watchful eye of the Fort Collins Police Department the
other speakers questioned additional issues affecting marriage.
“What about the rise in domestic violence, the divorce rates,”
said Rev. Mark Salkin from Foothills Unitarian Church, one of the
celebrations sponsors. “Where are the amendments to take on those
Salkin discussed the idea of family values and the “threats to
marriage” those against same-sex marriages have used in defense of
The crowd was sprinkled with straight and gay supporters and all
of them were demanding rights.
“We need to extend human rights to everyone,” said Bobbie Poole,
a member of the Foothills Unitarian Church, 1815 Yorktown Ave.
Jeff Wade Sr., a Christian, held his sign next to Poole in hopes
of telling his views to the crowd.
“It’s important the truth be known,” Wade said. “Marriage is a
beautiful thing and we need to speak out. In order for evil to
persevere, good must do nothing.”
Some supporters for the freedom to marry threw insults at the
Stuart Paul, an openly gay man, became frustrated when a sign
held near him read, “God is watching and he is pissed.”
“Nice penmanship,” Paul said to the woman holding the sign. “Did
you write that with blood?”
Paul, who has been in a relationship with his partner for over
20 years, wants the right to marry to extend past religious
“There are one million children raised by homosexuals and (the
government) is denying we exist,” Paul said.
Rosemary VanGorder, the woman holding the sign that angered
Paul, explained her desire to attend the rally.
“God loves everybody,” VanGorder said. “But this is truly a
VanGorder, a Catholic, held her sign on the edge of the
emotional crowd but she tried to keep her emotion out of the
“This isn’t about gay bashing or hate,” VanGorder said. “We need
to live according to his rule. This isn’t about love, it’s about
Dean Powers, a senior creative writing major, held a sign
reading “tipping point.” Powers believes this issue will force
people around town to take notice and take action.
“Anything that takes away civil liberties is undemocratic and
that’s not what this country is based on,” Powers said. “Things
like this are going to cause a national paranoia and that will lead
to hate crimes like Matthew Shepard.”
Ronda Coverston, an openly gay woman, enjoyed the speeches and
“They don’t understand and that shouldn’t be the reason they are
against it,” Coverston said. “Domestic partners need benefits just
like other Americans. It needs to be done.”