Follow us:

UW Election Eye 2012

Campaign 2012 through the eyes of UW faculty and students

September 15, 2012 at 7:15 AM

“Values voters” get their values challenged at D.C. summit

The Values Voters Summit is an annual gathering of cultural conservatives. It is also a contested space.

GetEQUAL protesters chant outside of the Values Voter Summit in Wash., D.C., on Friday evening, Sept. 14, 2012 (Will Mari / UW Election Eye)

Washington, D.C. — In the still-mild twilight of a September evening, Felipe Matos and about a half-dozen gay and lesbian activists from around the country held up a large brown-paper sign. It read “Your ‘values’ are killing us.”

They carried large poster-pictures of young people they say have committed suicide in response to bullying stemming from their sexual orientation.

Chants of, “Hey, hey! Ho, ho! Republicans have got to go!” echoed along the busy road.

Passersby, some of them from the Values Voter Summit being held across the street, wore looks that alternated between deep, angry frowns and slight smiles. Some shouted snarky comments at the protesters, who responded in kind. The occasional car honked a horn, but the mood was somewhere between ambivalent and tense.

Some people stopped to talk.

Felipe Matos, 26, holds up a picture of a young man he says committed suicide as a result of anti-gay bullying outside of the Values Voters Summit in Wash., D.C. on Friday evening, Sept. 14, 2012 (Will Mari / UW Election Eye).

“It’s been an interesting mix” of responses, says Matos, 26, of their presence so close to the conservative gathering. He’s the national field director for GetEQUAL, a national LGBTQ  advocacy group that is calling for a federal amendment protecting same-sex marriage, and also a “non-discrimination” executive order that President Obama has not signed. He is glad for the president’s support of same-sex marriage, but he doesn’t think Obama has done enough. Not yet.

In the meantime, Matos says that he finds irony in “values voters” opposition to same-sex marriage.

“We just want people to look us in the eye,” he says, referring to those attending the conference. “We want to be fully equal. We’re not asking anything more or less.”

It’s important to get people, younger or older, to vote their conscience this fall, he says, and stay engaged in politics.

“You cannot allow a majority to decide the rights of a minority.”

Comments | More in Culture, National | Topics: gay rights, LGBT. Values Voter Summit, Same-sex marriage

COMMENTS

No personal attacks or insults, no hate speech, no profanity. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate this thread by reporting any abuse. See our Commenting FAQ.



The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.


The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►