Soulforce activists protest outside Falwell's church
BY Advocate.com Editors
October 29 2002 1:00 AM ET
Gay activists gathered in the Reverend Jerry Falwell's hometown Saturday to announce a permanent presence in central Virginia. "It's safe to come out," the Reverend Mel White, founder of the gay rights group Soulforce, told a rally of about 200 crowded under a chain of balloons tied like a rainbow. "God has made you gay. You are all beautiful!"
White, a California minister who was friends with Falwell before acknowledging his homosexuality, said he decided to move to Lynchburg, Va., last year when Falwell said that God allowed terrorists to attack America on September 11 because of the work of gays, abortionists, and feminists. "Jerry Falwell is the source of misinformation about sexual orientation," White said. "He's a gadfly. He likes to say these horrible things."
Antigay protesters--who, like many of the gay activists, were mostly from out of town--gathered at the periphery and showered the rally with boos. "We'll be here too, in defense of righteousness," Andrew Sansone yelled into the crowd.
Falwell stayed away from the event altogether. "I'd be surprised if anyone from my church was there," he said in a telephone interview. Falwell said he still stands by his assessment of the terrorist attacks, blaming the "secularization of America" for exacerbating God's wrath. "I just think those statements were ill-timed," he said.
Since White arrived, Falwell hasn't answered any of his phone calls or invitations to dinner. Falwell said his mind is made up about homosexuality and that he won't socialize with anyone who he considers is living in sin. "But they are certainly welcome in the neighborhood," Falwell said. "Our church doors will always be open--and when they visit our church, I hope they will hear something really worthwhile."
- Multiple Attacks on Gay Men in NYC, Hours After Rally
- Father of Teen Facing Felony for Lesbian Relationship Says She's Been Targeted Before
- LGBT-Inclusive Immigration Reform Good as Dead, Say Advocates
- Democrats and Republicans Alike Wary of Virginia's Radical Lt. Gov. Nominee
- Illinois Will Pass Marriage Equality Bill, Sponsor Says
- WATCH: President Obama Tells Morehouse Grads 'Be the Best Husband to Your Boyfriend'
Sign Up For Email Updates
- Women INTERVIEW: Vicci Martinez Speaks her Truth 1 hour 20 min ago
- Politics Neither Democrats Nor Republicans Pleased With Virginia's GOP Lt. Gov. Nominee 2 hours 15 min ago
- Entertainment News Bling King: Liberace Car, Piano on View in NYC 2 hours 32 min ago
- Love and Sex Dear Digital Romeo: How Do I Seduce a Guy Through Chat? 2 hours 55 min ago
- Women Free Kate — She's Been Targeted Before, Says Father 4:09 PM
- Marriage Equality Illinois Will Pass Marriage Equality Bill, Sponsor Says 3:26 PM
- Women Op-Ed: Case of Lesbian Teen Kaitlyn Hunt Raises Questions About Sexual Double Standard 3:13 PM