Holding signs and chanting "Straight, gay, it's all OK," more than 100 students rallied Sunday near the Kansas statehouse against a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would ban marriage and civil unions for gay couples.
Only married heterosexual couples would be entitled to benefits associated with marriage under the proposed amendment. The house of representatives expects to vote on it Wednesday, and supporters hope the measure will go on the ballot April 5.
Aishlinn O'Connor, a 15-year-old high school sophomore from Prairie Village, said she organized the rally because she believes the amendment goes against an American tradition of expanding civil rights.
Most participants were college and high school students, many from the Kansas City metropolitan area.
They stood on opposite sides of the street between the statehouse and the Kansas Judicial Center, urging motorists to honk in support and cheering loudly when drivers did. They also chanted, "This is what democracy looks like."
Supporters contend that the amendment will protect the state's traditional definition of marriage from legal challenges and argue that Kansans overwhelmingly support it. The Reverend Terry Fox, senior pastor of Wichita's Immanuel Baptist Church, said he is not surprised students rallied against the proposal. He said that in public schools "they're told to accept almost anything."
But Cory Clark, an 18-year-old Park University sophomore from Kansas City, Mo., said the proposal attacks gays, like himself. "Everybody should have equal rights," Clark said, "and everybody should be
treated the same." (AP)
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