Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Students attend protest at Supreme Court

Last week UA student Valerie Walters found herself at the steps of the courthouse in Washington, D.C. in the middle of the Supreme Court’s hearings on several major gay rights cases – somewhat accidentally.

“So, my roommate and I were on a road trip anyway and stopped by Washington, D.C. to see some family,” Walters, a senior majoring in economics and history, said. “When we got there Tuesday night, we realized two huge Supreme Court cases were happening and the one about DOMA was on Wednesday at noon.”

Walters arrived with friends at the court around 11:30 a.m. and said she met several inspiring people at the protests, including a lesbian couple from Wisconsin and a local mother who attended to support her gay son.

“Although we got a ticket to see the case, the room ran out of seats about ten people ahead of us and unfortunately the case ended too quickly for us to witness any of the arguments,” she said. “We did see probably a dozen newscasters, protesters for marriage equality, against it, and even some fighting other issues.”

Walters explained that she has spent a good bit of time this semester learning about gender, sex and political movements, which have made her passionate about the marriage equality cause.

“It’s so important for UA to be understanding of high-profile movements and more importantly the arguments behind the movement,” she said. “Too many educated and smart people judge an issue like equal rights for LGBT individuals without truly understanding the reasoning behind both sides of the argument.”

Though she is graduating in May, Walters plans to contribute to this cause in Tuscaloosa by bringing a staged reading of the play “8” to campus.

“This documentary play is based on part of the California Supreme Court case ruling on Proposition 8 and advocates for marriage equality,” she said. “The play will happen April 19 at the Ferguson Theater and will be followed by a panel discussion to ensure everyone has the opportunity to truly understand the arguments and the movement.”

Meredith Bagley, the advisor of Spectrum, the University’s LGBTQ student organization, said she thinks there is value in being present at historic social change moments, especially in this era of online technology and 24-hour news cycles.

“There is something qualitatively different about being literally on the steps of the Supreme Court instead of seeing the steps on your TV or phone,” she said. “Often LGBTQ persons, especially activist ones, can feel alone or isolated in their work, so seeing a hearty crowd of people on your side can feel really good.”

For other students who are interested in learning more about the Supreme Court cases, Bagley said the University has a legal panel meeting Monday, April 15 at noon in the law school with three law professors discussing what was said in the arguments and what the justices may rule.

“On other levels, never underestimate the power of having a smart, sincere conversation with your peers or family about these topics, what you know or have learned about them, or the effect of reading scholarly books, writing letters to editors and blogging,” Bagley said.


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