More than 30 people descended on Quaker Square in Akron, Ohio, over the weekend to voice their opinion against anti-gay and anti-hate politics.
The protesters stood across the street from the Summit County Republican Party’s annual Lincoln Day Dinner, where Republican Presidential Candidate Rick Santorum gave the keynote address. People campaigning for candidate Dr. Ron Paul, as well as Santorum supporters, were also there.
They created signs, shirts and pins to show their support for the cause. A blow horn was also present. It was used to lead chants such as “Gay, straight, black, white, marriage is an equal right” and “I am somebody. I deserve full equality right here, right now.”
Joe Barbicus, the Vice President of LGBTU, organized the protest and constructed the group’s message.
“It’s not against republicans,” Barbicus said. “It’s against hate politics. Santorum’s platform isn’t just against gay people. It’s against women. It’s against Muslims. It’s against anything that’s not the majority, and it’s pretty awful.”
Although a majority of the protesters were University of Akron and Kent State University students, representatives from Planned Parenthood as well as teachers from Akron schools were there to support the protesters. Various news outlets such as the Plain Dealer, the Akron Beacon Journal and Channel 3 were also there covering the event.
At around 8:30 p.m. the protest turned into a silent vigil. The silence was only broken when the group sang verses of “Amazing Grace,” “This Little Light of Mine” and “Let it Be.”
The group had some opposition. Some people who were attending the dinner shouted bible verses and derogatory statements when they passed the fenced area of the protesters.