Today at noon, Stanford students will unexpectedly gather en masse inside Stanford’s student union (Tresidder Memorial Union), to protest the passage of Proposition 8 and remind California residents that the passing of Proposition 8 sends a destructive message to the nation’s gay youth.
According to one study, one in three queer and questioning youth in America attempt suicide. “On November 4, Florida, Arizona, and California banned same-sex marriage. Arkansas banned adoption by people ‘cohabitating outside a valid marriage’ after banning same-sex marriage in 2004. With the passage of Proposition 8 and similar legislation across the country, what messages are we sending our youth?” said Amanda Gelender, a student activist on campus and founder of the Stanford Theatre Activist Mobilization Project (STAMP).
The protest hopes to fan the flames of an ongoing revival in student activism on the Stanford campus. There has not been such a level of organized activism on the Stanford campus since the 1970s, observed one Stanford dean. In fact, many students today feel that the fight for marriage equality and related issues are quickly becoming the civil rights movement of their generation. “It is important to send a poignant message to the Stanford community and LGBT youth everywhere, letting them know we not only support but affirm their queer identities and legal rights,” said one Stanford graduate student majoring in Political Science.
Today’s protest is part of a larger set of activist efforts on the Stanford campus, including on-campus sit-ins and the largest organized “No on Prop. 8” phonebank in all of California so far. Organized by the Stanford Student Coalition for Marriage Equality (SCME), hundreds of students reached out to thousands of undecided voters across the state. On the day before the 2008 Presidential Election, San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom spoke to an audience of hundreds outside of Stanford’s Old Union building.
Beyond the borders of campus, tens of thousands of American citizens have taken to the streets to protest Proposition 8 and show solidarity with marriage equality activists. Online, nearly five hundred Stanford students have registered on Facebook to attend the nationwide JoinTheImpact.com rally, which will take place simultaneously across the nation on Saturday at 10:30 am PST.
Gavin Newsom speaks to Stanford students in front of Old Union, VINCENT CHEN/The Stanford Daily