Tuesday, October 6, 2009

National Equality March Brings Along Important Message

After so many years of the Republicans trying to use the legislative process to promote hatred and discrimination, this march is designed to draw attention to the fact that people deserve to be treated equally. While there were a lot of promises made to the LGBT community during the campaign and it appeared as though we were heading towards “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” and the Defense of Marriage Act being repealed and an inclusive ENDA being passed. As things have progressed, however, there hasn’t been anything done and the rhetoric from the White House has often suggested that LGBT equality was being placed on the back burner. There are therefore going to be thousands upon thousands of people marching on Washington this weekend during the National Equality March to make sure that our leaders realize that discrimination has no place in America.

As the march is approaching it appears as though there are several members of the Congressional leadership who realize that someone must take a step towards standing up for basic civil rights. Sen. Harry Reid, for instance, appears to be moving forward with a plan to repeal “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” and sent a letter to President Obama asking for his recommendations on how to move forward. This comes after months of the Obama Administration claiming that it’s simply waiting on Congress to act, which means Reid’s letter is essentially telling the president that he can no longer simply brush off the issue.

The timing of this letter is very interesting because it shows that members of Congress are publicly urging the President to move forward on supporting equality at the same time that thousands of people are going to be coming to DC in order to show that people from all across the country believe in equal rights for all. Once again Reid seems to realize the importance of this as he wrote a letter to the steering committee of the National Equality March which stated that he believed the LGBT community’s “struggle for equality as part of a larger movement for peace and social justice.” His letter read:
As you prepare to come to Washington, DC, for the National Equality March, I write to join in your commitment to ensure equality under the law. As senate Majority Leader, I will continue to work tirelessly to pass the Mathew Shepard Hate Crimes Act and the Employee Non-Discrimination Act, as well as to repeal the "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy. I will also continue to advocate for funding of HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, research, and housing programs.

I believe that every American should be treated equally under the law regardless of religion, sexual orientation, gender, race, or other forms of identity. I see your struggle for equality as part of a larger movement for peace and social justice.
Because I strongly believe that discrimination has no place in America, I will be attending the march this weekend and encourage others to do the same. I strongly believe that we have a duty to stand up and let our voices be heard when we see something that needs to be addressed. The National Equality March is the perfect opportunity to do just that.

UPDATE: If you want more information about this weekend’s activities, you can visit the National Equality March’s website. Some of the key highlights are that the March will start on the corner of 15th and 'Eye' Street at noon on Sunday and will end at the West Lawn of the US Capitol where there will be a rally starting at about 2pm. The day before there will also be a grassroots organizing training from 2pm to 6pm.

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