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Human rights workers campaign for gay rights on campus

If you’ve walked down Neil Avenue on a fair weather day this fall, there’s a good chance you’ve been asked if you have a minute for gay rights.
The people posing the question while grasping binders with blue and yellow striped stickers represent the Human Rights Campaign, “the largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans,” according to the HRC website.
The group’s logo is a blue background with a bold yellow equal sign on it. The volunteers canvas on campus to recruit new members to HRC and ask for donations from Ohio State students, faculty, staff and anyone else passing by.
In 29 states, it is legal to fire an employee for being homosexual. In addition, in 34 states, it is legal to fire someone for being transgender, according to the information sheet in the HRC binders the volunteers hold.
The campaign aims to get a federal law passed that would “provide protections against workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity,” according to the information sheet. The law is called the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.
Representatives from HRC were not available for immediate comment Monday.
Some OSU students said they feel that the volunteers, who are not permitted to talk to the media, are representing a cause they, too, believe in.
“I will be signing up online, but I am a strong believer in gay rights,” said Steve Grushetsky, a second-year in history. “Gays are human beings just like the rest of us, and there are so many differences between everybody, their sexuality is absolutely, you know, no different than any other difference.”
However, many OSU students simply say “no” and keep on walking, most claiming that they are hurrying to class.
“(I didn’t stop) because I’m in a hurry,” said Beau Simmons, a third-year in communication.
Simmons said if he knew they were recruiting members to help fight against inequality for gays in the workplace, he would have been more likely to slow down.
“I would’ve talked, I probably wouldn’t have donated (because I’m) low on money,” Simmons said.
Besides the Oval, outdoor areas on OSU’s campus are public space, meaning anyone who wants to gather signatures, recruit new members or ask for donations can just to go stand where they please, said Amy Murray, OSU spokeswoman.
“If they are not inside somewhere, basically (OSU) is a public space,” Murray said.

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