The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Gay families attend Easter Egg Roll at capital

In 1878, U.S. President Rutherford B. Hayes started the public White House Easter Egg Roll, a tradition that has been upheld for 130 years and 25 presidents. This year, more than 200 gay families planned to attend, creating a stir amongst conservative Christians and right-wing politicians. Jennifer Chrisler is the executive director of the Family Pride Coalition. “We’re not protesting the president’s policies on gay families,” Chrisler said to the International Herald Tribune. “We are, however, helping him understand that gay families exist in this country and deserve the rights and protections that all families need.”

Sophomore David Norton supports the attempts of gay families to participate in this event.

“I think it’s a good idea to have this kind of visibility,” Norton said. “Every positive form of visibility will help influence the

cultural acceptance of gay people.”

Max Carter, Director of the Friends Center and Campus Ministry Coordinator, said that he can understand both sides of the issue.

“I can see the argument that this is a fun event for children and shouldn’t necessarily be used for political purpose,” Carter said. “On the other hand, this White House has used religion for their personal agenda time and time again.”

Religious conservatives believe that the Family Pride Coalition has ulterior motives for encouraging gay families to make a presence at a national event. Mark Tooley, the director of the United Methodist committee at the Institute of Religion and Democracy, spoke out against the Family Pride Coalition.

“It’s facetious and not very persuasive for Family Pride to say they’re not making a political statement,” Tooley said to the International Herald Tribune.

First lady Laura Bush is in charge of organizing the annual Easter Egg Roll. She and other members of the White House have taken a neutral stance on the participation of gay families.

“It’s a great tradition,” said Peter Watkins, spokesman for first lady Bush, to the San Francisco Chronicle. “Like we say, all families are welcome to attend.”

Robert Duncan, Assistant Professor of Political Science, doesn’t think conservatives and the religious right should be so concerned about this event.

“The White House belongs to the people,” Duncan said. “These are just ordinary American families trying to participate in an American event.”

Carter pointed out that it would be a different situation if it were racial minorities trying to make a statement or potentially getting excluded from a public event.

“In the grand tradition of American non-violent protest there has been a problem in the way sexual minorities are viewed,” Carter said. “We would be up in arms if they were excluding racial minorities from a public event.”

Carter’s only concern with this event is that it could overshadow the issue at hand.

“The only practical question I would raise is will this so enflame the other side that it will prevent dialogue on the issue?” Carter asked. “Other than that, I think any time people can use creative, non-violent means of getting their message out will be a positive and powerful tool.

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