Nov 19, 2008

Prop 8: Protest on Michigan Ave.

"What do we want? Equal rights. When do we want it? Now!"

That was the chant being heard as protesters filled the streets last weekend. They were marching for more than gay marriage, but for equal rights as a whole. California's prop 8 has ignited passionate feelings from supporters on both sides of the issue across the country. Protesters taking to the streets of Chicago was just the latest example of growing frustration in the gay community over California's ban on gay marriage.

Though I am not part of the gay community, being in the midst of their protest was an exciting experience. You could feel the energy, frustration and passion emitting from their chants. People young and old, black and white, male and female all carried signs and flags to show their support for gay marriage, equal rights and the need for change.

With the recent election of President-Elect Barack Obama, many saw the following ban on gay marriage in California as 2 steps forward and 1 step back for our country.

My personal sentiments on the issue: I believe that everyone is entitled to equal rights - - everyone. It's not always easy to accept the personal lifestyle choices individuals make, but everyone is allowed the right to choose, to have their own choice in regards to how they want to live. Men can marry women...men can marry men. Women can marry men...women can marry women. It is not up to the masses to play judge, jury and executioner....I think that we need to take steps towards becoming a more welcoming place. You don't have to agree with what everyone else is doing, but as long as you're not being disrespected, then respect should be given to all.

Recently there had been a lot of buzz surrounding the 2010 opening of a high school targeted towards gay and lesbian students in Chicago. This was met with mixed emotions and as of earlier today the plans had been dropped. Some believe that this would further segregate gay high school students while others believed that the school would provide a safe haven for those facing discrimination. I'm not sure where I stand on this issue as I believe that everyone is entitled to feeling a sense of belonging...but a school only catering to gay/lesbian students could, in some ways, hurt more than it would help.

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