Since the controversial passage of Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage in California, residents in one of the state’s more conservative counties are standing up against the ban. Orange County residents have come together to form the Orange County Equality Coalition (OCEC) “to engage and collaborate with organizations, groups and individuals in developing a more affirming and inclusive Orange County community through the promotion of equality and civil rights via education and outreach.” I think by “equality,” they are referring to “marriage equality.”

Chapman University School of Law, another conservative bastion in the county, is home to new progressive group, as well. OUTLAW is a recently formed student organization that focuses on issues relevant to the LGBT community.

Despite the “Yes on 8” support at Chapman, including “Yes on 8” lobby tables, a frighteningly biased Prop 8 ‘symposium,’ and the law school dean, John Eastman’s, financial support of the “Yes on 8” campaign, OUTLAW has gained momentum. Students and faculty have responded positively to the voices of reason being on their campus.

OCEC and OUTLAW joined forces this week to produce the forum, “Prop 8 Passed: What’s Next?” Even with finals looming ominously on the horizon, this hour long event was packed and overflowing with people. Chapman students and community members alike came out to hang on each and every word spoken at the event. The lineup included a law professor who spoke on the difference between a constitutional amendment and revision—the main argument behind the lawsuits filed to overturn Prop 8, two law students gave their personal stories—one married lesbian and one straight with gay parents, and a community organizer who worked for the “No on 8” campaign and now heads up OCEC. The event was moderated by the Dean of Student Affairs.

The crowd reacted to the event like a bunch of desperate, thirsty people who had just stumbled upon an oasis of fresh water. The applause was uproarious. And everybody except the closeted, super gay, Clark Kent glasses-wearing guy in the back (who, by the way, manned the “Yes on 8” table before the election) left the event fired up!

To view the one hour webcast, click here. To view a transcript of one of the personal stories, click here.

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