Monday, October 12, 2009

Gay Rights Advocates March In DC For Inclusiveness And Equality

Unlike the teabaggers who marched in Washington, DC, on September 12, the gay rights advocates who demonstrated in the capitol on Sunday voiced their concerns but didn't make threats. There were no signs stating, "Unarmed This Time" or "Pushing Us...Find Out What Happens"; instead, they pressed a message of inclusiveness and equality.

Lt. Dan Choi, an Iraq war veteran, put it eloquently: "I marched for many different things in the army; we fought for many things, but when there are people that are discriminated against in our country, it is our responsibility to step up for them." Watch:

The marchers represented a new generation questioning the pace of change under the Obama administration and at odds with those counseling a wait-and-see stance:

Known as Stonewall 2.0 or the Prop. 8 Generation (a reference to the galvanizing effect that the repeal of California’s same-sex marriage law had on many young people), these activists, in their 20s and 30s, are at odds with advocates urging patience as Mr. Obama grapples with other pieces of his domestic agenda like the health care overhaul and the economic recovery.

...The rally on Sunday and a black-tie gala on Saturday hosted by the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest gay rights advocacy group, made for a glaring dichotomy. Mr. Obama, who spoke at the dinner, had the crowd on its feet reiterating his pledge to end the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy and declaring his commitment to gay rights as “unwavering.”

But at the rally, some gave the speech low marks for lacking anything new and failing to acknowledge several major issues confronting the movement. In the words of Billie Myers, a musician who spoke to an eager crowd of tens of thousands on the west lawn of the Capitol, “I’m sorry, but I didn’t like your speech.”

The president did not lay out a timetable to repeal the ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the military, voice support for any of the battles going on at state levels to allow same-sex couples more recognition under the law nor mention the march.

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