A Grand Rapids rally brought out over 150 local residents in support of marriage equality March 23. Photo courtesy of Vote Equal.

Vote Equal's Marriage March in Grand Rapids Attracts Over 150 People

By Crystal A. Proxmire

On March 23, Vote Equal (formally known as Marriage Michigan PAC) hosted a March for Equality in downtown Grand Rapids. The March was made up of over 150 LGBT supporters and was one of many taking place this week around the country as the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hear two marriage equality cases. The group met at Rumors Night Club, 69 S. Division Ave., and marched the downtown sidewalks carrying signs in support of same-sex marriage and equality.

After the march, Vote Equal invited everyone back to The Apartment Lounge for a re-launch party, announcing their transition from the Marriage Michigan PAC to Vote Equal. Chris Silva, president, gave a speech to show Vote Equals gratitude for the "constant, current and future support."

Under new leadership, Vote Equal eyes a 2016 ballot proposal instead of the group's previously stated goal to put it on the 2014 ballot. Vote Equal also hopes to help add sexual orientation to the state's Elliott Larsen bill protecting minorities from discrimination in housing, emplument and public accomodations.

"Vote Equal will stand with the progressive community and support candidates that share our ideals and we are working for a more equal and fair society. And most important, we are in the midst of joining arms with the various LGBT organizations in Michigan," said Vote Equal's Vice President Danny Hossler. "Without showing solidarity with our partners in the community we can never expect to see the type of change we all are working toward."

Hossler was elated with the turnout.

"The overwhelming support from Michigan residents has been phenomenal," he said, noting that as the marchers passed a heterosexual couple on the sidewalk, they turned to join them. "That was very heart-felt and genuine."

"Together we can truly make a difference," he said.

To find out more about Vote Equal, visit their website at http://www.voteequal.com.
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