Tens of thousands of gay rights supporters rallied in the nation’s capital Sunday, marching from the White House to the Capitol demanding federal action on a whole host of issues from workplace discrimination to marriage.
The march was first announced earlier this year by famed activist Cleve Jones at Utah’s gay pride parade and on Sunday, Jones said the goal was nothing less than full equality on every issue in every state.
Organizers and many of the participants appreciated the incremental steps in states such as Massachusetts, Iowa and Maine on the issue of marriage, but they demand big changes on the federal level.
Image: Circle Surrogacy’s Ron Poole-Dayan and family in front of the White House
Barney Frank: National Equality March is ‘a waste of time’
Representative Frank said Sunday’s National Equality March was “an emotional release.” But he said directly lobbying representatives and senators would be much a more effective way to achieve change.
Frank said the only thing marchers are putting pressure on “is the grass.”
Congressman Barney Frank represents the Fourth Congressional District of Massachusetts.
On his website, Frank says: The most effective way to get your point across is to write or call your own Congressman and your Senators. Members of the House of Representatives represent residents of specific geographical areas. Given the high volume of work their small staffs must accomplish, members are simply not able to fully respond to residents of other states and districts.
March & Rally for Equality!
A Democrat in the White House. Demands for sweeping civil rights protections. Religious opponents working to undo a string of state-based victories.
That was the backdrop in 1979 when gay rights activists staged their first national march in Washington. Thirty years later, with the landscape looking much the same, thousands of advocates are preparing to rally again in the nation’s capital this weekend.
And they are demanding many of the same things: a bill to outlaw job discrimination based on gender, a law that would treat attacks on gays as federal hate crimes, and a presidential order allowing gays to serve openly in the military.
“Thirty years ago was our introduction to the nation. It was ‘These are the things we stand for and are about,'” said David Mixner, a former adviser to President Bill Clinton. “This march, more than any other, is a declaration that we are a full-fledged civil rights movement, we are here to win our freedom now and we won’t wait any longer.”
Organizers of Sunday’s National Equality March say that with President Barack Obama encouraging gay activists to keep pressure on him and Congress, it’s time to make another show of visibility as they did at marches in 1987, 1993 and 2000.
National Equality March has support of HRC and NGLTF – or does it?
Our friends at Queerty are following developments of the National Equality March [NEM] – scheduled for the second week of October – in D.C.
Latest news being reported includes March leader Cleve Jones – who says he and his team have raised $150,000 for the event. Jones also says he has the support of national gay rights groups, like the Human Rights Campaign and the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force.
Queerty says: This would be significant – if it were true.
“This isn’t to say HRC and NGLTF won’t end up support the march. But HRC, for one, is busy with its own travels. That, and a previous statement from HRC seemed to conveniently shrug off any notion it would back NEM. And NGLTF was basically a no: ‘National marches can certainly have a community-building impact when energized participants return to their hometowns and get involved, but in an economic downturn – when resources are extremely limited for individuals and organizations, and critical work remains to be done locally – focusing on grassroots organizing at home is all the more critical.'”
Cleve Jones leads National Equality March
Cleve Jones – friend of the late Harvey Milk – is excited about a new generation of gay activists who have embraced him as a mentor.
He’s leading the effort for the National Equality March – scheduled for the second week of October in D.C.
His goal is to build an army of activists drawn from each of the nation’s 435 congressional districts. Afterward, participants will be sent home to pressure their representatives and the White House into removing the remaining barriers to gay equality, such as the policy that prevents gays from serving openly in the military.
If successful, Jones’ vision would represent a sea change in the gay rights movement’s strategy of securing victories piecemeal on the local or state level.
GLBT National March for Equality: October 11, 2009
A group of GLBT organizers are planning to gather in Washington DC on October 10 and 11, 2009 – with hope of attracting fair-minded citizens from across the country. The group wants to remind elected leaders that now is the time for full equal rights for GLBT people. The hope is to leave the event energized and empowered to do the work that needs to be done in hometowns across the nation.
Activist Cleve Jones appears to be leading the effort. Joe. My. God. offers an interview with Jones about the event: “As to the cost of putting on the weekend, Jones stresses that the MOW will be a stripped down, no frills, purely activism-focused event. ‘This will not be a three day mulit-media spectacular’ he said. ‘Most of the hundreds of protests I’ve organized cost nothing. We will have a minimal stage, a sound system, and enough port-a-potties for the crowd. That’s it. We won’t be flying in celebrities and putting them up in fancy hotels. This will be a two hour march, then a two hour rally, and then sending everybody home to their congressional districts to organize for 2010.'”
NationalEqualityMarch.com will be updated as more information is available. According to its website, the march will be organized in a grassroots manner, and details will be shared on the website.
Our single demand: Equal protection in all matters governed by civil law in all 50 states.
Our philosophy: As members of every race, class, faith, and community, we see the struggle for LGBT equality as part of a larger movement for peace and social justice.
Our strategy: Decentralized organizing for this march in every one of the 435 Congressional districts will build a network to continue organizing beyond October.
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