Monday, October 12, 2009

Thousands march in Washington for gay rights

Tens of thousands from the LGBT community marched through Washington Sunday in what has been described as "a festive, forceful call for equality, culminating in a boisterous rally." Phil Siegel, a march spokesman, put the head count at "more than 150,000."

Los Angeles Times reports:
The National Equality March took place one day after President Obama made sweeping pledges to the gay community, including a vow to end the military policy of "don't ask, don't tell" -- which bans gays and lesbians from serving openly in the armed forces. Obama gave no timetable for repealing the policy.

Marchers waving rainbow-colored flags were in no mood to wait.

They came to a halt on Pennsylvania Avenue, in front of the White House, and chanted, "Hey, Obama, can't you see? We demand equality."

Organizers of Sunday's march said the LGBT community (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people) is not satisfied with a piecemeal approach to civil rights.

Forty years after the Stonewall riots in New York launched the gay rights movement, they are demanding "full federal equality" and singling out marriage, adoption, military service and workplace issues.

Some marchers wore purple T-shirts exhorting: "Legalize gay."

Alex Miller, 23, of Ashburn, Va., waved a sign supporting her sister, Sam, 20, a lesbian. "Same womb. Same rights," it said.

Another demonstrator held a sign that bore a swastika and the words: "You are not the first to hate us."

The rally drew impassioned speakers, including NAACP Chairman Julian Bond; Army 1st Lt. Daniel Choi, an Iraq combat veteran facing discharge for disclosing his sexual orientation; Babs Siperstein, a transsexual member of the Democratic National Committee; glam rocker Lady Gaga; and Michael Huffington, a Republican and former congressman from California.

NAACP Chairman Julian Bond linked gay rights to civil rights. "Black people of all people should not oppose equality, and that is what marriage is all about," he said READ MORE