FIGHTING FOR RIGHTS

 Uncategorized
Mar 072010
 
Authors: Alexandra Sieh

After meeting in August 1994, Peg and Jackie Campbell were married in 1997, taking their vows as man and wife.

But this wasn’t your average star-crossed love story.

Only years after their marriage, Jackie Campbell began her transition from woman to man, making their marriage today one between a trans woman and woman, legal in the state of Colorado.

“I’m not kinda sorta married. I am married,” she said to the crowd at the Freedom to Marry Day rally Saturday. “This is one they have to recognize. They can’t annul our marriage, and they can’t make me go away.”

Jackie Campbell and other members of the GLBT community and their allies took to the streets Saturday as a part of Freedom to Marry Day, marching for “basic human rights,” said Andy Stoll, executive director of the Lambda Community Center said, including the right to marry.

Signs in hand, a crowd of nearly 100 people walked along College Avenue, their chants rising above the honking of passing cars and the cheers of those passing by.

“Gay, straight, black or white. Marriage is a human right,” members of the march yelled. And for those in attendance, it was this emphasis on the fact that these are human rights that was the message from this event.

“Equality under the law is not a privileged right,” said John Case, a board member of the Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays and the father of a gay son, speaking to the crowd in Old Town Square.

“We will not quit until we see real equality for this entire community,” he said.

Lalery Mayo, partner and fiancé of Case’s son Gabe, said it was this basic denial of rights that needed to be looked at.

“Our rights have only been denied because we love someone different, or that’s what they like to think,” he said.

A tradition 11 years in the making, the Freedom to Marry Day was created by a youth group from the Unitarian Church in hopes of raising awareness for same-sex marriage among other GLBT rights.

Members of that church stood in attendance Saturday, holding signs that illustrated not only their stance but that of those in attendance: “Different people. Different beliefs. One Faith.” And it was the acknowledgement of these differences that many at the rally hoped to call attention to.

“People aren’t likely to change their viewpoint if they’re not aware of the situation,” Muniz said.
Molly Hall-Payne, who marched with her wife of three years and partner for 10 years, echoed that sentiment.

“If people don’t see us or have connections to this community, they won’t think about it and remember to support us,” she said.

She said she got involved because for her, this event was a great way to show Fort Collins this community is here and still fighting for their rights.

It was this change of labels from “the right to marry” to “human rights” that made this year’s rally that much more universal in what it hoped to change, Stoll said.

Rather than “pigeon-holing” themselves into the label of marriage rights, this change to human rights is something that all GLBT groups should do nationally, he said.

Chris Poirier Jr., a CSU alum and rally attendee, said this new label made the movement harder to deny by their opposition.

“It’s hard to say you’re against it because no one is against human rights,” he said.

In a collective tally of the number of years that GLBT couples and families have been together, there were 253 “years of loving” from the couples at the event, and as Esther Lobato, a board member of the Lambda Community Center, reminded the crowd, there were even more couples in Fort Collins not counted.

A show of devotion from these relationships, it was this illustration of love and commitment from GLBT couples that seemed to encapsulate the day’s overarching message of hope for equality in the future.
_
Assistant Design Editor Alexandra Sieh can be reached at design@collegian.com._

 Posted by at 5:14 pm

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.