Campus vigil protests NC gay marriage amendment

More than 100 people gathered on Young Commons Sept. 12 to protest a law that would ban gay marriage in North Carolina.

Those attending the vigil lit candles to show their solidarity against the proposed legislation.

Students, faculty, staff and community members joined together to voice their opposition to a bill passed earlier in the day in the N.C. House that would allow voters to decide in the May primary whether the state constitution should be amended to outlaw same-sex marriages. The N.C. Senate is now set to consider the bill.

Elon’s vigil was organized by the LGBTQ Office and two student groups, Spectrum and Students for Peace and Justice. Kirstin Ringelberg, coordinator of the LGBTQ Office and associate professor of art, opened the event, saying the goal of the vigil was “to be a peaceful witness and stand watch as legislators decide whether to write discrimination into our state constitution.”

Ringelberg said the vigil was a powerful statement. “We are here tonight not just to protest these discriminatory amendments but also to show that we are here. Many of us are queer, we have many proud straight allies, and none of us here are going to shut up and go away to make other people more comfortable.”

Raafe-Ahmaad Purnsley speaks to the crowd.

Spectrum leader Raafe-Ahmaad Purnsley said the legislation is “not something we want and not something we need,” and said the vigil represented the Elon’s community’s strong opposition to the constitutional amendment.

Martin Fowler, a lecturer in philosophy said the legislation “is frustrating for those of us who have grown up in North Carolina.” Others said considering the law is “hateful,” “redundant” and “a huge waste of time” for state lawmakers.

Lauren Kier, assistant professor of sociology, said the large turnout for the vigil made her emotional. “All of you are here for me, you’re here for North Carolina and you’re here for the United States of America.”