Mar 042010
 
Authors: Alex Sieh

An 11-year-old “Fort Collins tradition” will change this year when Saturday’s celebration of the national Freedom to Marry Day will focus on numerous GLBT issues along with same sex marriage, event coordinators said Thursday.

A “call to action” to those in attendance, this year’s rally will be about awareness for GLBT rights and the “social justice issues regarding the inequalities that GLBT families and friends face,” said Andy Stoll, executive director of the Lambda Community Center.

Stoll said while same sex marriage will still be addressed, it isn’t the only item up for discussion, nor is it the only one that needs attention.

“Marriage isn’t an issue that can be completely addressed right now,” he said, but other items, like the nondiscrimination legislation (ENDA) currently sitting in U.S. Senate and the repealing of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, “are things that people can be working on to further other rights issues right now.”

Scheduled to begin at 12:30 p.m. in Old Town Square, the rally will start with a performance by Colorado folk artist Jill Brzezicki, followed by a series of speakers who will talk about their personal experiences as either members of the GLBT community or GLBT supporters.

One speaker, John Case, is the father of a gay son and member of the Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, or PFLAG, one of the sponsors of the event.

For Case, the event isn’t just about raising awareness; it’s about reminding Fort Collins that, while there has been progress, “we still have a long way to go.”

“This event is really a target to make sure that people understand that this is not an adversarial situation, but something to remind them of the old adage that no man’s freedom is secure if another’s is oppressed,” he said.

Following the rally will be a reception at Avogadro’s Number at 2 p.m., designed with a wedding reception theme, complete with wedding cake and a performance by Boulder band Cynova.

The reception is intended as a chance for rally participants to find a sense of “community and support with each other,” with speakers sharing their stories in hopes of bringing more understanding to this community, Stoll said.

“It’s frustrating certainly because we’re here after 11 years, and not much has changed that should have by now, but this is a good way to re-energize the enthusiasm and the fight for GLBT rights and issues,” he said. “We’re continuing the fight, even if it is taking longer than we want it to.”

Assistant Design Editor Alexandra Sieh can be reached at design@collegian.com.

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