Spectrum, Multicultural Center host discussion about gay marriage

It is easier to hate a group than it is to hate a person, Ball State University students said at Spectrum and the Multicultural Center's "Freedom to Marry" event Wednesday afternoon.

"Everybody is scared of the unknown," senior music education major David Zimmerman said.

The Multicultural Center and Spectrum, Ball State's GLBT group, hosted "Freedom to Marry" at the Multicultural Center's Malcolm X Library. The event started with a film, "In Sickness and In Health," that chronicled three same-sex couples fighting for the ability to be married.

Zimmerman said the film put a face to the issue.

After the film, Spectrum led a discussion about gay marriage. Spectrum President Daimon Clevenger opened the topic up to about twenty students.

Junior social work major Victoria Patterson said she was unhappy about the stereotypes associated with homosexuals.

"It frustrates me that people peg [homosexuals] as going to hell," Patterson said.

Patterson was not alone in her frustration; most students said they agreed.

Senior psychology major Jessica Tindal said she thought misunderstandings about the GLBT community was an educational problem. Some of her professors talked negatively about homosexuals.

"How is this a lifestyle choice," Tindal said, reacting to a statement one of her psychology professors said.

Students discussed how it is not only the title of being married that is important, but also the legal benefits that come with being married. Some of these benefits include tax incentives, receiving a spouse's military benefits and the ability to visit your spouse in the hospital.

Marilyn Maneely and her partner, Diane Marini, were featured in the film. When Maneely suffered from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS, better known as Lou Gehrig's disease, a degenerative brain disease, Marini said she was not able to visit her in the hospital and had to fight to get a civil union just to visit Maneely.

Zimmerman said that gays should be able call their unions marriages just like straight couples can.

"It needs to be called marriage," he said.

Spectrum members said the event was a success and they hope to work with the Multicultural Center again in the future.

"[The event] was really good, I wish there were more people, but I appreciate those who came," Clevenger said.


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