Students gather to protest anti-gay, anti-abortion demonstrators

Chalk messages covered Risman Plaza as a protest to a demonstration outside University Library condemning homosexuality and abortion on Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013. The chalkings were a combination of facts about abortion and the LGBT community, as well as rebuttles to the demonstration’s messages. Photo by Jenna Watson.

Rex Santus

Dozens of people gathered outside University Library on Tuesday to protest a demonstration that condemned abortion and homosexuality, among other things.

“I’m not a protester. I’m just a preacher of the gospel,” said a man who identified himself only as John. “We travel the state of Ohio — different college campuses — preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

One of John’s signs depicted a bloodied Jesus Christ. “He was wounded for our transgressions,” the sign read.

“It’s easy to be pro-choice when you’re not the one being killed,” another sign said.

Crowds of students protested the demonstration by holding signs and chalking messages on the concrete. Their messages varied — some signs contained sexual references and curse words, while others talked about equality and love.

“At one point, we had a full circle around the demonstrators,” said Brad Gregg, a junior electronic media major who attended the protest. “We started singing and saying, ‘Kent State loves its gays.’ Things did get heated a little bit. Some people were yelling. Nothing physical.”

Eventually, the police showed up.

“A couple of different passersby called in with concern for their safety,” said Officer Cheryl Hayes of the Kent State Police Department. “The Center for Student Involvement came down and asked us to make sure everyone was being non-confrontational.”

Hayes emphasized the protest was not being dispersed.

“We didn’t break up anything. Everyone’s still free to be here as long as they want,” she said.

Sophomore pre-nursing major Adam Croft said he protested a similar campus event last year.

“We’re protesting the protest,” Croft said. “We’re just doing this to say, ‘We can hold up signs, too.’ ”

While he disagreed with the demonstrators’ message, senior theater studies major Connor Reese said the lesson of the day was that everyone is entitled to an opinion, including those with controversial viewpoints.

“They’re not going to change their minds,” Reese said of John and the other demonstrators.

Contact Rex Santus at [email protected].