CT: Rally For Women’s Rights Held At Bushnell Park

Posted on April 28, 2012

Courant.com, April 28, 2012 by SAMAIA HERNANDEZ

HARTFORD— Wearing a long colonial dress and bonnet, Kathryn Carbone stood out in a crowd. That was the point.

“When you enforce morality, you get Salem,” the New Britain resident said, referring to the notorious witch trials in Massachusetts, at the Unite Women CT rally Saturday at Bushnell Park.

“We’re going back. We need to move into the 21st century.”

Speakers from Connecticut first lady Cathy Malloy to U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal expressed concern that women were facing what they called the same inequalities and injustices that have stirred activism and calls for legislative reforms for decades.

As a Second Amendment rally was held on one side of the Capitol, and a prayer group met on another, at least a hundred women, men and children spread out in front of a podium calling for a fight for women’s rights. Susan Campbell, a Courant columnist, was the emcee for the event.

Blumenthal praised the Violence Against Women Act, signed by the Senate on Thursday, which expands the domestic violence law, as a victory in the fight, but like many, he said there’s still a way to go.

“We’re going to win in this war against women, we’re going to win for America,” Blumenthal said.

The demonstration, sponsored by 20 organizations, took a political tone early on, with Occupy demonstrators discussing what they called a legislative war on women, activists holding signs that criticized the Republican Party and people taking to the podium to shout in support of abortion rights.

“I remember the fight that went on in that building about a woman’s right to choose,” said Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, referring to the nearby state Capitol.

Cathy Malloy, the wife of Gov. Dannel P. Malloyand the former executive director of the Center for Sexual Assault Crisis Counseling and Education in Fairfield County, also expressed disgust at anti-abortion laws in states such as Nebraska. She encouraged women to get involved, tweet and blog about women’s issues.

But not everyone was on board with the rally’s agenda.

Several yards of grass separated those at the rally from more than a dozen protesters, such as Bill and Sophie Brown of East Hartford from the Citizens in Christ group, who argued that taxpayers should not be forced to support what some consider to be immoral.

“Adoption is always an option,” Sophie Brown said. The Browns also attended a rally on March 23 at which more than 600 people showed up in support of “the unborn” and “religious liberty.”

The Browns said they don’t consider themselves activists, but Bible followers. They stood near others who held yellow pro-life balloons and graphic images of discarded fetuses. Bill Brown held a handmade sign that read, “God is so pro-life he raises the dead.”

“They always say follow the money,” Bill Brown said. “How much money is being made off abortion?”

Still, several speakers tried to make light of their passionate messages.

“My biological father had the right to choose,” said state Comptroller Kevin Lembo. “He just took off.”