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University students and others march on Washington for equality

By John Lazarz, Staff Writer

Thousands of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and sexually questioning Americans descended upon Washington, D.C. Sunday, October 11 in one of the largest displays of support for gay rights in decades. Joining the marchers were thousands of heterosexual Americans who added their voices and concerns to the fight for marriage rights. Several University students also marched, refusing to let a school night keep them from taking part in history. 

"I heard about it right after Prop 8 passed," said Katie Smith, a freshman majoring in Political Science. Proposition 8, a new amendment to the California constitution, repealed a previous law recognizing gay marriage. Smith and her friends traveled to Washington with Broadway Impact. Of the nine students, seven said they were straight, one identified his or herself as questioning, and one said he or she was bisexual. "I don't see the harm in people being happy for the rest of their lives," said Erica Starr, a freshman drama/performance major.

Broadway Impact sponsored 25 charter buses with 1400 riders for the march."It's great that a cultural group is striving to make a political impact," said Lakshman Kalasapudi, a sophomore undergraduate at CUNY Hunter College. The marchers were joined by some high profile stars, including the Tony Award nominated star of "Hair," Gavin Creel and "Sex in the City" star Cynthia Nixon. Nixon also spoke at the foot of the Capitol building on how,"It is time for us to make the President move beyond words."

On the state level the fight for marriage rights continues to show only isolated victories for the LGBTQ movement. In New York, the fight for marriage rights is now the focus of a case before the New York State Court of Appeals. In this case, the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) has brought a suit against Westchester County to prove that it does not have the authority to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. The ADF, a conservative legal group based in Arizona, will also be fighting against Governor Paterson's executive order for state agencies to recognize gay couples legally married out-of-state.

The march was intended to push Democrats into repaying the substantial support that the LGBTQ community gave in the 2008 presidential election. Exit polls showed that 4 percent of voters identified themselves as gay, lesbian or bisexual. Of these voters, 70 percent voted for President Obama.

(Photo Courtesy of Jamie Cook)

Cynthia Nixon of Sex And The City fame at the rally (Photo Courtesy of Jamie Cook)

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