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    Posted August 31, 2014 by
    Columbus, Ohio

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    LGBT Supporters Rally Against Billboard


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     Dozens of LGBT supporters flocked to a controversial billboard in Columbus, Ohio, protesting its message that "Holy matrimony is one man and one woman." Tom Morgan, co-founder of Get Equal Ohio, organized the protest, which was held on Sunday.

    “The majority of passersby and those in autos were positive,” Morgan said. “We did have one auto passenger yell, ‘It's Adam and Eve, Not Adam and Steve!’”

    CNN reached out to American Outdoor Advertising, which confirmed it owns the billboard but would not comment on whether the message represented its company or was purchased by an outside client. "There is a billboard that American Outdoor owns that advertises holy matrimony. We are a billboard company that sells advertising space on our billboards,” said a spokesman.
    - zdan, CNN iReport producer

    A gathering of local LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) supporters held a rally in Columbus, Ohio on Sunday to voice their opinions against a billboard defining holy matrimony as being between one man and one woman. The rally was organized by local LGBT activist and co-founder of ‘Get Equal Ohio’ Tom Morgan. The billboard was brought to light in an iReport published Friday afternoon (see Ohio Billboard Stirs Marriage Debate). Morgan started a Facebook page and planned the rally after seeing the billboard when it went up last Thursday.

    Supporters of marriage equality wanted to share their message that marriage should not be confined to just opposite-gender couples in Ohio. Currently, there are cases from Ohio and surrounding states working through the federal court system regarding civil marriage equality. While this billboard specifically refers to holy matrimony, some supporters see it as a direct hit against the LGBT community because some people may not see the difference between holy matrimony and civil marriage.

    The weather forecast was calling for heavy rain all day, and the early part of Sunday was proving the meteorologists correct. Luckily for the group, the rain dissipated just before the rally started. Despite the potential washout, the group considered the event a huge success. “We got the word out there, that’s what’s important.” said James Hancock who was in attendance with his partner. About 20 supporters in all made it to the billboard. Among them was renowned author and LGBT activist Stephen Snyder-Hill who was there with his husband Joshua Snyder-Hill. Stephen is the soldier who was booed by audience members during a 2011 GOP presidential debate and who went on to write about his experience as a gay member of the military in “Soldier of Change: From the Closet to the Forefront of the Gay Rights Movement”. The Snyder-Hills posted a picture of themselves in front of the billboard as a statement for their support of marriage equality.

    Morgan spoke to the crowd and led them in chants demanding marriage equality for all. He was ecstatic because the weather cooperated, and they got a good turnout considering it was in the middle of a holiday weekend. Morgan feels that it is important to bring attention to the billboard’s message because messages such as this can have such a negative effect on LGBT individuals and the community as a whole.

    There were no counter-protesters or supporters of the billboard in attendance at the event. It proved to be a peaceful gathering with a successful outcome.

    Photo Credits: James Hancock, Tom Morgan, Mark Hiser, Stephen Snyder-Hill
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