American Civil Liberties Union recently held the Music for Marriage Equality concert.
Blue skies, sunshine and more than 20 performers filled Independence Mall on April 17 for a free outdoor concert hosted by TU American Civil Liberties Union.
Promoting marriage rights of GLBT Pennsylvanians, Temple’s chapter of ACLU organized with five other student organizations to bring together people of all ages to jam and learn about GLBT marriage issues.
“Our goal is to fight for people’s right to marry whomever they please,” said Temple ACLU president Samantha Wiggins. “There should be no discrimination because we are all humans. ACLU is promoting humanity as an equalizing force.”
At Fifth and Market streets, the Music for Marriage Equality concert attracted the attention of tourists and students from noon until 8 p.m. Wiggins said the decision to hold the concert outside the Independence Visitor Center made the event accessible to a wider audience.
“I was in the neighborhood and heard the music,” attendee Elle Micheli said. “I could not resist listening to these awesome bands sing about a cause that should be supported.”
Among featured performers were the Broad Street Line, Satellite Hearts and Guerilla Funk.
“Being queer myself, I am a strong proponent of equal marriage rights,” said musician and senior Spanish major Dana Blechman. “I played songs that I thought the crowd would recognize and enjoy.”
Senior strategic and organizational communications major and event manager Brian Hart said setting up the concert was difficult, but rallying people together was easy once they were told the cause.
“It took blood, sweat and tears,” Hart said. “Once we started recruiting local bands and Temple talent, bands from different regions wanted in, too.”
ACLU has hosted debates, screened documentaries and organized free-throw contests in the past to raise awareness. However, music has been its most effective instrument in reaching out to the public.
“We could have preached about the injustices in society,” Hart said. “Instead, we thought a peaceful demonstration would be much more fun. What better way to end the year than an awesome concert for an awesome cause.”
ACLU’s past efforts included donating to Japan relief aid, demilitarizing schools and preserving the separation between church and state.
As discrimination against the GLBT community remains a hot topic in the media, ACLU continues to educate Temple students about issues affecting them outside the classroom.
“Regardless if you don’t believe in gay marriage or think it is wrong, you have to agree that all people have the same rights,” Wiggins said. “Once you realize all the trials that homosexuals are going through to claim insurance and earn equality, you become respectful of their efforts and want to aid in the process.”
“Everyone should have an equal opportunity to take part in the commitment of marriage,” Williams added. “People need to support this cause because every push forward contributes to the progress.”
JohnCorrigan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.