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Marriage Equality

Antigay Ark. Rally Eclipsed by Protesters Shouting 'Love Is Love'

Antigay Ark. Rally Eclipsed by Protesters Shouting 'Love Is Love'


Hundreds turned out to protest a so-called March for Marriage in an Arkansas town.

Although the nation's eyes are turned to Washington, D.C., on the eve of the U.S. Supreme Court hearing oral arguments on marriage equality, the clash between generations on LGBT rights also came to a powerful confrontation in a town in Arkansas.

A local Tea Party group organized a March for Marriage Saturday in Russellville, Ark. Dozens, many carrying signs reading "Marriage = 1 Man + 1 Woman" gathered at the Pope County Courthouse to protest marriage between people of the same sex, reports The Courier, a Russellville paper.

Deborah De Sousa Owens, a leader of the Coalition of African-Americans Pastors, was one of the right-wing speakers slated to speak at the rally. But her words were drowned out by the marriage equality supporters who gathered across the street in a surprise protest.

The Arkansas Times reports that over 200 people turned up to protest the antigay rally, far outnumbering the 30 antigay marchers, though some conservative outlets report the number of March for Marriage participants as high as 80.

As Owens addressed her audience, the marriage equality supporters chanted "love is love," with a few crossing the street to shout slogans and debate the antigay marchers.

"It was disrespectful," Owens told The Courier. "We always have people fighting against us. It's America. I have no problem with them being here, but never have they been allowed to be where we are. I was fine if they'd have stayed on the other side of the street."

She characterized the LGBT supporters as predominantly "young people ... which goes to show you how they indoctrinate our youth."

One of the protesters, Jeannie Stone, who described herself as an "ally and a Christian," said she was present to support her transgender child, because "it's not American to use God's word to deny people their rights."

Another protester, who wished not to be named, said they were demonstrating because of the hypocrisy being preached at the rally.

"They say they love everyone and it's not about hate," the protester said. "But when I came out, my mother disowned me. She will not speak to me. She did that because of pressure from her friends. It really hurts."

Despite the noise, the protest concluded without incident. Watch the coverage from Little Rock TV station KARK below.

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