Feb 292004
Authors: Brittany Burke

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

their views.

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.”

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