Community College Students Divided Over Gay Marriage

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(Sacramento, CA)
Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Last week, ARC’s student council approved a resolution supporting Proposition 8 on the November ballot. That’s the ban on same-sex marriage. Now, students who support gay marriage and oppose Prop 8 are trying to recall members of the council. They held a rally Tuesday.

Joy Cordova is one of about 70 students gathered in front of the American River College bookstore to show support for gay marriage. She thinks the school’s student council shouldn’t even be taking sides on state politics.

"We should be making decisions on cheaper books, better parking, stuff that’s going to help us have a better education, promote higher learning." 

But earlier this month, student council members took the unusual step of backing a proposition. Voting 8 to 3, the council endorsed Proposition 8. Cordova thinks it was an inappropriate move. 

"It’s just not the place and yeah, they bring their personal agenda, their religious goals here on campus."

But student Yuriy Popko thinks the resolution is a good thing. He’s against same-sex marriage and thinks the effort to recall council members who approved the resolution is an attempt to suppress free speech. 

"And now they’re trying to recall just because they have a different opinion on marriage. Which side is more intolerant? They’re claiming we’re intolerant and hateful because we support marriage the way it was defined by law. That’s hypocrisy."

Students on both sides of the issue are holding dozens of signs above their heads in support and opposition to Prop 8. Rick Ramirez is a counselor at ARC…one of several faculty members observing the rally. He says the controversy has helped stir up student interest in both state and campus politics.

"I think this is a good opportunity for students to just remember that they need to be part of the process and that when we do have campus elections that instead of being apathetic about the process is to really be involved with it."

Students who support gay marriage are collecting signatures to recall members of the student council. A recall vote could happen later this month.