About 150 people stood in front of the Lucas County Courthouse yesterday morning in support of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community, but Diane Houston said she had a little extra incentive for her appearance.
Ms. Houston's son, Troy Anaya, a member of the University of Toledo Spectrum group, was one of the speakers during the "Rally for Equality."
Wearing a white T-shirt with "I love my gay son" printed on it, Ms. Houston said she thought it was important for her son to see that she was by his side.
"I know he believes in [the rally] with all of his heart, and I wanted to support him," said Ms. Houston, with her hands clasped together as Mr. Anaya spoke.
The rally marked the public launch of Equality Ohio, an organization campaigning for equality for the LGBT communities, said the Rev. Michelle Stecker, who is the pastor of the Faith Community United Church of Christ.
Wade Kapszukiewicz, Lucas County's new treasurer, told the audience that public officials should not be afraid to speak out on issues such as domestic partners' benefits. Mr. Kapszukiewicz talked about his failed effort to bring that issue to Toledo City
Council in 2002.
"There were a lot of doom and gloom predictions, people thinking about what that would mean to my career," Mr. Kapszukiewicz told the audience. "Well, that was two elections ago and I'm two for two in those elections."
Carol Bresnahan, vice provost at the University of Toledo, took her school's board of trustees to task for not providing domestic partner benefits, despite the fact that five other public universities do.
She said the university has lost good faculty candidates because of its lack of action on the domestic partner-benefit issues, and there will be a bigger push in the future to get the university to respond to it.
"I think [University of Toledo President] Dan Johnson wants to do the right thing," Ms. Bresnahan said after her speech. "He has to see how important this issue is, how little it would cost, and that it's the right thing to do."