As Juan Oyola made his way to the Vance Monument in Asheville Monday night, those around him could hear him coming before they saw him.
"The Liberty Bell is the sign of freedom, for you, me and every oppressed individual that walks the face of the earth," Oyola said.
He said he carries it and rings it wherever he goes.
"I add to the beauty of Asheville as well as others who are my brothers and sisters," he said.
He said the crowd of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community, or the LGBTQ community as they identified themselves, is like his family.
"Why can't I live a happy life with my partner?" he asked.
The group gathered to rally against a proposed amendment to the North Carolina state constitution.
"We will continue to fight until the vote is cast," said Lee Crayton, field organizer for the organization Equality North Carolina.
"We don't stand for this. We don't stand for discrimination to be written into our state constitution," she said.
State law already prohibits same-sex marriage. But the North Carolina House of Representatives passed a proposal that would let voters decide whether to amend the wording to specify that the only legal union of marriage is between a man and a woman.
"We want equality for all North Carolinians and will be a part of any fight in which that is the goal," Crayton said.
And just as the crowd cheered, Juan Oyloa said you'll always hear him stand for equality too.
The proposal will now head to the Senate for a vote. If it passes voter could see the question on ballots next May.
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