The Columbia Democrats would like to express thanks to everyone who participated in the protest against the “Family in Modern Society Conference” that took place this Saturday the 16th. On our own progressively minded campus, this event featured a key address by Sherif Girgis, a Ph.D. candidate in philosophy at Princeton and J.D. candidate at Yale, who, using quite abstract conceptions, argued that marriage could only be between one man and one woman. While we affirm that Mr. Girgis had his right to speak freely on the matter, we took hold of our own right to free speech by expressing that his argument was still hurtful to those still striving to have their right to marry the person they love, and detrimental to the cause for LGBT equality.
We had a great turnout, with Democrats members and non-members getting up at 7:30 AM (on a Saturday!) to protest at the entrance of Lerner Hall, where the conference was taking place, and then later in the day at 4:00-5:00 PM when Girgis’ speech began. For this portion of the protest, we silently held up signs displaying our disagreements with the speakers’ audacious argument, submitted challenging questions (via note cards for the Q&A session), and stood up and left at the end of his address. We did not engage in any rowdy behavior, nor did we once attempt to interrupt Girgis’ speech. It is evident that our civil display balanced respect with a strong display of activism, allowing us to leave a stark impression on the “Family in Modern Society Conference” and respect their right to expression (as repugnant as we find their message). Let’s all keep up the fight guys!