A group of people held signs that said “Honk for traditional marriage” at Toomer's Corner today. The signs were part of The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property's demonstration "for traditional marriage" in which they advocated that heterosexual marriage is “God’s marriage.”
TFP is an organization of lay Catholic Americans who are concerned about “the moral crisis shaking the remnants of Christian civilization," according to their website. The organization has about 120,000 active member, volunteers and donors.
Simon Atkinson, senior at Auburn High School, is an affiliate of the organization and supports their message.
“[It’s just trying to] teach people that marriage is one woman and one man and not anything else, so no homosexuality,” Atkinson said.
The group stood holding a tall, red flag with the words tradition, family and property. Two men played bagpipes while a third played a snare drum. The group chanted prayers and handed out pamphlets.
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Cheyenne Stone, junior in English literature, said the pamphlets mentioned 10 reasons on why gay people should not be allowed to get married.
“Honestly, it just kind of made me mad,” she said. “They’re allowed to believe what they believe. It's annoying, it’s a little disheartening to see people agreeing with them."
Stone joined the group of students with pride flags as a counter protest to the Catholic group. The LGTBQ group formed in response to the group's message after many students passed through and said they felt disheartened by the message.
“We are just here to spread love and positivity and be a combative force to the hate these people are out here spewing,” Stone said. “Just reminding every lesbian or gay dude or LGBTQ person that has to walk through here like I did earlier you know, there are people on your side.”
Stone said she felt compelled to stand out on the corner today for personal reasons.
“To be honest, the main reason, that I think I came out here today is because a couple of months ago, a boy from my home town area was actually killed for being gay,” she said.
Other passing students shared Stone’s sentiment of feeling threatened.
Kallan Blakemore, sophomore in chemistry, said “My first thought was I might get hate-crimed.”
The two groups engaged in conversation with each while standing on the corner.
“We respect the other side, but we firmly believe marriage can only between one man and one woman,” Atkinson said.
Mary Stengell, sophomore in professional flight, shared a common belief with Atkinson.
“I don’t have a specific problem with homosexuality, but I think that we should encourage heterosexual marriage,” Stengell said. “It’s a good demonstration of peace, like we can both stand here and disagree while both showing our sides.”
People passing by showed support for both groups. TFP encouraged cars to honk in support of their message. Other cars hung pride flags out their windows and honked in support of the LGBTQ group.
Stone tied this issue back to the University and its struggle to diversify and provide resources for minorities.
“Auburn tries to be an inclusive campus, it tries to be a better place where everybody can be themselves and not be afraid,” Stone said.
TFP stood on the corner for several hours before they then traveled in procession down Magnolia to Gay Street where they departed. A few members holding pride flags followed the procession and attempted to stay in front of the group holding their flags out.
The majority of the LGBTQ group remained at the corner and received honks of support from passing cars after TFP left the corner.
“I think that most people nowadays are getting around to the fact that ‘Hey, what they’re saying is not necessarily correct,’” Stone said. “I believe we greatly outnumber them.”
Editor's Note: A correction has been made to this article. When it was originally published, it was missing proper punctuation to indicate a clarifying change to a quote. That punctuation has been added. The Plainsman regrets this mistake and apologizes to our readers.
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