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News and reports

March 25, 2005 | Page 11

No to war and occupation

NEW YORK--About 150 people made their way to two different protests March 16 at Hunter College in Manhattan.

The first action was called by the Campus Antiwar Network to protest military recruitment at the campus career fair. Protesters confronted recruiters with posters of atrocities at Abu Ghraib, as well as asking them about the discriminatory "don't ask, don't tell" policy. A National Guard recruiter told protesters, "I want to find a way out. I don't agree with what we're doing in Iraq, and I'm with you."

The second protest, immediately following the anti-recruitment action, targeted the proposed tuition hikes and budget cuts taking place at the City University of New York.

In Pasadena, Calif., Iraq war veteran and conscientious objector Aidan Delgado spoke to a crowd of more than 200 students at a public forum about the costs of the war in Iraq for both working-class people in the U.S. as well as the Iraqi people. The event, sponsored by Students for Social Justice at Pasadena City College, was part of an emerging student movement at community colleges and high schools around the country to counter the increased militarization of poor working-class schools.

Delgado showed the crowd pictures that he had taken during his two years in Iraq, including graphic pictures of Iraqis that had been killed by the U.S. military--both civilians and armed resisters.

Two days later, Students for Social Justice held a speak-out against the war in Iraq and military recruiters in the school quad.

In Providence, R.I., Iraq Veterans Against the War member Patrick Resta spoke to 30 Rhode Island residents March 11. Resta described shocking neglect of soldiers in relation to their inadequate food, housing, medical care and lack of protective armament.

Freddy Garcia, Peter LoRe and Bill Pagliarulo contributed to this report.

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Gay marriage is a right
By Jocelyn Blake

SAN DIEGO--About 70 activists and supporters of marriage equality held a rally March 14 in support of a California Superior Court ruling that the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage is unconstitutional. The rally, organized on only a few hours' notice, was called by Equality California (EQCA), a statewide, grassroots-based organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights.

By rejecting the notion of "separate, but equal," the court ruling is a huge step forward in California's struggle to gain equal marriage rights.

Activists at the rally explained to the crowd that the ruling is just one victory in a long struggle for equality and that we have to keep up the pressure. "We take [the decision] as a huge victory, but we recognize that we have a long road ahead of us toward justice," said Nadine Jernewall, head of EQCA's San Diego chapter.

LGBT rights activists expect a backlash from their antigay opponents in response to the ruling--including a push for a constitutional amendment against same-sex marriages. "Such an amendment would not only exclude LGBTs from marriage, but it would take away domestic partnerships," Jernewall said. "It's clear that [the amendment backers'] main concern is not marriage and family, as they claim, but rather a reflection of their homophobic, antigay agenda."

Only by continuing to demand equality will such efforts to maintain institutionalized discrimination be curtailed.

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