Jolena Hansbarger and Loran Marsan get married on the Court House steps on Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016 in Athens. (Photo by Kelsey Brunner)

Locals React to Election, Some With Fear, Some With Celebration

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Jolena Hansbarger and Loran Marsan were not looking for a reason to get married before they decided to walk up the steps of the courthouse Wednesday morning.

Instead, they were given a reason when Donald Trump was elected president of the United States earlier that morning, they said.

“It’s the best thing that we could think to do today so that it’s not absolutely horrible,” Marsan said.

Marsan and Hansbarger said once the results came in last night showing that the Republican candidate would be the projected winner, they set a plan in motion to hold a “protest wedding.”

“This is our way to start the fight, this is our way to make our voices heard and say we’re not going away, we’re not lying down,” “We’re part of the group that you can’t ignore.”

They decided they needed to hold the wedding the day after the election to make it clear why they were doing it.

“We don’t think that it’s fair that these things are going to be repealed and we want to get married before those things are taken away,” Hansbarger said.

A few people yelled support of Trump as they passed by the wedding ceremony, and individuals took to the steps immediately following the wedding to protest the elected president.

There was a group, however, celebrating Tuesday’s results; a group who believes the polls and the pundits underestimated their movement.

“The media just didn’t understand from the get-go what was happening here,” said Rebecca Keller, a Trump supporter living in Athens County.

Supporters of the Republican presidential candidate were turned off by the perceived negative coverage and ignored pollsters, leading to what happened Tuesday night.

“They’re just trying to be negative about Trump,” said Keller. “You’re going to come against us for no good reason, we’re going to stand up against that.”

As the president-elect prepares to take office, Keller hopes he keeps his campaign promises of strengthening security.

“I want our country to be safe,” she said. “I think that’s number one.”

For the minority groups who felt targeted by the rhetoric of Trump during his campaign, Keller offers that it was a political tactic. And the tone of his victory speech Tuesday night calling for unity is more of an insight into his presidency than his campaign.

“Now he doesn’t have to be bogged down in trying to sell his point. He can truly say ‘Look, I am here for all of you,’” Keller said. “Our agenda is not against anyone.”

As Professor Patricia Stokes watched Hillary Clinton’s concession speech Wednesday, she said many women she knew were still in shock.
“I wanted to go home and stay under the blankets, but now that I’m at work I want to stay,” Stokes said. “Being together is good.”
OU’s LGBT Center director, delfin bautista, expressed concern, but also hopefulness while offering a safe space for those who wanted it.

“I’m concerned about (Trump) as an individual and what he’s said, but I’m also concerned about what he has inspired in other people,” bautista said.

Though some in the country are “freaking out,” bautista said the role of leaders at the LGBT Center and other leaders around the area was to bring people together.

“This isn’t a defeat,” bautista said. “This is a powerful moment to be in solidarity. This is by no means the end.”

For Stokes, she says action is on the way after the surprise of the results wears off.

“It may take days or weeks to come out of the shock, but after that we will rise up,” she said.

Aaron Payne contributed to this article.