By Jessica Lewis, News Editor
In the midst of the debate excitement on campus on Monday, Oct. 18, The Pride Network came together in protest of Republican candidate Carl Paladino. David S. Mack Sports and Exhibition Complex housed the debate. "We wanted to raise awareness about Paladino's bigoted remarks," said junior Christian Fuscarino, Operations Director and Founder of The Pride Network.
Paladino was quoted on Sunday, Oct. 10 saying, "…I don't want [children] brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is an equally valid and successful option – it isn't." This quote was not the only bigoted remark made by Paladino.
The University set up a ‘Free Speech' area, which was conveniently located out of the way of any media outlets covering the event. "I think that The University does a great job in bringing political venues to The University and it's great that they are supportive of free speech, but on a college campus you think that they would give more to students that want to express their political opinions…the new director of Public Safety allowed us to stand closer after realizing how degrading it was to stand in a dirt pit gated off from the event," Fuscarino said.
"We had about thirty students all together get involved and that is a good amount for a protest against a politician…" Fuscarino said, "Whereas the Candlelight Vigil had so many students it makes you wonder where they are when you do a protest, but certain students are protesters and certain students are not as vocal as others."
The Pride Network is the only LGBTQ group on campus, and Fuscarino said that it is made up of both radical and conservative members. "We pride ourselves on being able to offer protests and important educational discussions."
A few members of The Pride Network had tickets to go to the debate, but decided to protest instead and watch the debate at the viewing party in the Student Center.
"Certain members of The Pride Network were proud to see that all the candidates support gay marriage except Paladino," Fuscarino said. "Although, The Rent is 2 Damn High Party's response to the question [of gay marriage] is slightly offensive, he says if you want to marry a shoe, you can marry a shoe…gay marriage is love between two human beings."
Fuscarino expressed that he is relieved that all of the candidates, excluding Paladino, support gay marriage and that he will vote for Cuomo. "He is so supportive of the LGBTQ community and may be the only one with half a brain."
The Cuomo LGBTQ liaisons supported The Pride Network by giving them rainbow flags to wave, along with the posters The Pride Network had previously made.