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Dismantle, from a feminist perspective, all forms of oppression, including but not limited to those based on ability, age, class, ethnicity, gender, race, and sexual orientation.
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Thursday, October 10, 2013

Gov. Christie’s Visit Sparks Silent Protest at Ramapo College

In a silent protest, students wore pride t-shirts, equality stickers and rainbow attire in support of marriage equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals, during Governor Chris Christie’s visit to Ramapo College on Oct.1.

Governor Christie addresses Ramapo College. PHOTO/Yovanna Garcia
Governor Christie addresses Ramapo College.
PHOTO/Yovanna Garcia
Christie made an appearance at Ramapo College to mark the College’s progress on its recent capital improvement projects, and announced $20 million coming to the campus for more improvements.
While he primarily spoke about the funding the College will receive in the future, some students took this as an opportunity to make a political statement.
“The marriage equality law being passed in New Jersey — we heard about the governor’s decision to appeal that. We want to make a point that there is an LGBT community on the Ramapo campus, and we want our voices to be heard,” said Erin Healy, 20, vice president of Ramapo Pride. “We want to have a presence and show him that as a club and as a college, we do support marriage equality.”
Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson ruled on Sept. 27 that New Jersey’s civil union laws did not provide LGBT individuals the same rights as married couples and opted to grant same-sex couples marriage licenses.
Christie has made his political views on gay marriage pretty clear, claiming that he will let the people vote on gay marriage in the November gubernatorial election. Until then, however, he wants to block the state’s upcoming legalization of same-sex marriage.
But Christie’s move to appeal does not sit well with gay rights advocates over the issue of same-sex marriage.
“He claims to be representative of the majority of New Jersey, and New Jersey is a typically democratic state. Majority of people do support same-sex marriage, so how can he claim to be representative of an entire state when he’s not? For someone who claims to be so representative of people, I just don’t think that’s true in his decision to appeal,”  Healy said.
During his talk, Christie took the opportunity to comment on the first day of the federal government shutdown. Clearly distancing himself from members of his own party, he called the government shutdown a “failure of people in public life for everybody in this country.”
“We need to make sure that we have a government that listens to the needs of the people who pay for it. We’re not supposed to be dictating to you, we’re supposed to be listening,” Christie said. “I think much too much in politics, we have folks who have forgotten that one of the most important parts of leadership is listening…listening to people of divergent views and opinions; listening to the people who are going to lead our state and our country in the future.”
The crowd that gathered in front of the recently renovated Grove cheered in delight of Chris Christie’s reassuring words. Others, however, were far from pleased by what the Governor had to say.
Ramapo Pride members gather for a silent protest during Gov. Christie's speech. PHOTO/Yovanna Garcia
Ramapo Pride members gather for silent protest during Gov. Christie’s visit. PHOTO/Yovanna Garcia
“I think it was kind of ironic that he was standing up there saying we need to listen to the people, and none of us were being heard. It feels terrible. He’s not the man who represents me, not by a long shot,” said Hayley van Hoek, 19, sophomore student at Ramapo College.
As he walked the Grove, Christie proceeded to walk down a line of over 100 students and professional staff members. Each person shook the governor’s hand or took a picture with him. Once he reached the end of the line, he saw the group of silent protesters standing to the side, but refused to acknowledge them, students said.
“You can’t just ignore the whole queer community, it won’t go away. It’s going to be here forever. If you choose to ignore it, that’s ignorance on your part,” Healy said.

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