SPRINGFIELD, MA (WSHM) -
Nearly 800 UMass students and many from surrounding colleges rallied through campus to support Derrick Gordon and LGBT rights.
Students gathered in front of the student union on Wednesday afternoon chanting to show their support for equal rights. This all started from Facebook group called "umass united" and word quickly spread around campus.
"We're all just here as a united UMass community to support everyone," said Nolan Gardner, a UMass senior.
Members of Westboro Baptist Church came to campus to picket against Gordon's decision to come out. Police officers held students back from the protesters and would not let media near them either.
"Based on public safety concerns, they had a particular area to protest in to make their point, we certainly wanted anyone else that had a point of view an opportunity to do so, they were provided a spot across the street," said Ed Blaguszewski, UMass spokesman.
One freshman said he respects that people have different opinions but enjoys seeing all the support for a student athlete.
"It's their right, they can be wherever they want to be, but as far as trying to attack any of our students, I will stand up for them. I will not attack any of the Westboro Baptist Church members, but I will support every single one of the students that's out here supporting everyone else," said Keenan Martin, a UMass freshman.
Even Amherst residents came to support Gordon.
"He probably didn't think that a simple gesture of just being honest about who he is could spark such excitement on campus," said Nina Brand, an Amherst resident.
Student athletes are also standing behind the basketball player's decision.
"Most people are very liberal, especially UMass athletics, and I'm a part of that and we except everyone, especially Derrick Gordon," said Katherine Foley, a student athlete.
Gordon was not at the rally Wednesday afternoon but he did post on his Twitter feed that he appreciated all the support from the students and he felt truly blessed.
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