An 11-year-old â€œFort Collins traditionâ€ will change this year when Saturdayâ€™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 â€œcall to actionâ€ to those in attendance, this yearâ€™s rally will be about awareness for GLBT rights and the â€œsocial justice issues regarding the inequalities that GLBT families and friends face,â€ said Andy Stoll, executive director of the Lambda Community Center.
Stoll said while same sex marriage will still be addressed, it isnâ€™t the only item up for discussion, nor is it the only one that needs attention.
â€œMarriage isnâ€™t an issue that can be completely addressed right now,â€ he said, but other items, like the nondiscrimination legislation (ENDA) currently sitting in U.S. Senate and the repealing of Donâ€™t Ask Donâ€™t Tell, â€œare things that people can be working on to further other rights issues right now.â€
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 isnâ€™t just about raising awareness; itâ€™s about reminding Fort Collins that, while there has been progress, â€œwe still have a long way to go.â€
â€œThis 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 manâ€™s freedom is secure if anotherâ€™s is oppressed,â€ he said.
Following the rally will be a reception at Avogadroâ€™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 â€œcommunity and support with each other,â€ with speakers sharing their stories in hopes of bringing more understanding to this community, Stoll said.
â€œItâ€™s frustrating certainly because weâ€™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,â€ he said. â€œWeâ€™re continuing the fight, even if it is taking longer than we want it to.â€
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