On February 6, Food for Thought, was re-started for the semester with speaker Dr. Lynne Shepherd from Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) speaking. Her talk was provocatively titled, Same–Sex Marriage: Why Can’t Gay People Just Leave Well Enough Alone? The presentation provided students, faculty, and staff with the opportunity to learn more about why many in the gay community are working so hard for the right to marry and to ask questions in a safe environment. Lynne began her presentation by asking students to fill out a demographic sheet. Students picked up paper and pencil and quickly became puzzled for there was no place for straight students to indicate their status. Dr. Shepherd told the audience this was what faced gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered clients every time they fill out a form in which they and their partners are often rendered invisible.
She asked the group how many rights were conferred to heterosexual couples upon marriage that were denied to gay and lesbian couples. Some students guessed five rights, others 50, but the answer was shocking to many: over 1000 rights and benefits. Dr. Shepherd dramatically illustrated the number by pouring over 1000 colored beads into a glass. Dr. Shepherd talked about gay and lesbian individuals who died on 9/11 whose long-time partners were not acknowledged by the government and, therefore, did not receive financial payments as the families of heterosexual couples did. The Food for Thought was well-attended and students say they learned a lot and had their consciousness raised.