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Legalize Love

 

On February 14, 2013 while most Americans were celebrating the national day of love, Brown and RISD students were marching to the Rhode Island State House in the name of love equality. 
 
Organized by Brown students Michelle Bailhe and Taylor Daily, the March for Marriage Equality drew 150-200 student participants and attracted an additional 500 students who pledged to march in spirit. Several student organizations collaborated in order to promote the event including the Brown Democrats, the Brown Queer Alliance, and the Korean American Student Association among others.
 
The organizers contacted State Representative Frank Ferri, who co-authored the bill to legalize same-sex marriage that passed the House 51-19. The bill, which has been re-introduced consecutively for 17 years, has never been discussed previously on the Senate floor. According to Rep. Ferri and the leaders of the March, this year may be their first opportunity to do so. 
 
The March for Marriage Equality concluded on the Rhode Island State House steps, where students were able to hear from Representative Ferri as well as Representative Joseph Almeida, who deemed the marriage equality movement the civil rights movement of the current generation. 
 
Leaders of the March for Marriage Equality worked hard to utilize social media in order to garner support for the cause, with Michelle Bailhe focusing especially on a strong design campaign. Plastered across the Brown University campus and highly visible among Facebook profiles and twitter accounts was the red “Legalize Love” slogan: highly appropriate for the Valentine’s Day date on which the march occurred. 
 
The march organizers and Rhode Island Representatives realize the importance of the role played by students in promoting and developing the cause. After 17 years of failure to attain progress on the bill, supporters hope that this type of social activism will be just what is necessary to bring the measure to success. 
 
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