Students prepare to rally in front of high court

Senior and California-native Matthew Sampson has fought against Proposition 8 – a law banning gay marriage – since it passed in 2008.

Sampson, who is openly gay, will continue his battle this week, joining dozens of College Democrats and Allied in Pride members to rally at the steps of the Supreme Court, where justices consider striking down the law.

“You have to be a part of it. You have to be fighting for your rights because you’re a part of this community,” Sampson said. “Being gay, this is your fight.”

He hopes the justices will hear the group’s chants as they weigh the legalities of same-sex marriage, but knows that this time, the fight cannot be swayed by cold calls to voters or a groundswell of supporters.

They’re going to be gearing up for a fight after the Westboro Baptist Church announced that members would crash the rally on the steps of the Supreme Court.

Senior Sarah Hasenfuss said it’s important just to be out there and stand ground, especially after the Westboro Baptist Church declared that members – known for their extreme views on issues of gay rights – would crash the rally.

“I’m hoping to open up the eyes of a couple of people. I’m not naive enough to think it will impact what the Supreme Court rules, but I know they watch the news. It’s still really important for people to show their support for what they believe in,” Hasenfuss said.

Senior Juliana Amin, a College Democrats member who coordinated phone banking to draw supporters to the rally, said getting students there is half the battle in “changing hearts and minds” about same-sex marriage.

And Amin said that while it’s personal for her, people should support marriage equality regardless of their personal connections to the issue. Her sister, who is engaged and moving to California while working towards her Ph.D., wants to marry her partner in their new state.

“I don’t see my family as nontraditional,” Amin said. “Having a gay sister is what I see as traditional and I don’t see it as weird or abnormal or anything about it.”

President of Allied in Pride Nick Gumas said he is excited to see the mix of LGBT individuals and allies at the rally.

“I can’t remember the last time I was at a rally that affected something so personal to me. It’s going to be really touching to see so many people show up,” Gumas said.

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