Gay Rights Protestors to Picket Against Romney, Christie and Mayor Robart
Due, in part, to Christie's veto of same-sex marriage legislation, local gay activists will protest outside Gov. Mitt Romney's "Victory Rally" at the Natatorium on Tuesday evening.
Thousands will flood Cuyahoga Falls on Tuesday evening to cheer on the Republican presidential candidate, but there's some who plan to protest against Romney, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Mayor Don Robart.
Shane May, of Akron, organized the protest via social media and said he's expecting protestors from local gay rights groups, like GetEqual of Ohio, to join him on the picket line for various reasons.
In a Patch email interview on Oct. 8, May wrote: "It was an extreme disappointment when Gov. Christie vetoed the same-sex marriage bill within the state of New Jersey (in February)...Both of the men visiting my hometown tomorrow have made their points pretty clear where they stand with the LGBT community, and it was no shock that Mayor Robart would be hosting them at the Natatorium. He shut down an entire facility for a day for the Republican presidential candidate to promote himself in the city, yet was very concerned with the financial loss letting 'the gays' receive a family membership at that same facility."
Shane May and his husband, Coty, stood at the center of a gay rights controversy regarding memberships at the city gym after the couple was told by Natatorium staff in January that they could not receive the spousal discount because their Washington D.C.-based marriage wasn't recognized by the Ohio Constitution.
The Mays requested a change to the membership rate structure, but it was opposed by some leaders in the city, including Robart who said an alteration would cost the city roughly $50,000 annually in lost membership fees. Throughout the controversy, Robart maintained the issue was about money, not sexual orientation, and said those in the gay community were welcome to the gym as individual members.
Ultimately, the existing rate structure was upheld by the Cuyahoga Falls Parks and Recreation Board.
Mayor Robart is expected to hit the stage at 7 p.m. to kick off the Romney rally in the Natatorium parking lot. Christie and Romney are due to take the stage at approximately 7:35 p.m.
The protest is slated for 6 p.m. Tuesday outside the rally.