National Coming Out Day marked by marriage rally in D.C.
First National Gay Marriage Rally set for today
Monday marks the 16th anniversary of National Coming Out Day, which this year is being commemorated by the first National Gay Marriage Rally in Washington, D.C.
Organizers of the first National Gay Marriage Rally said the event would occur as scheduled on Monday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Upper Senate Park in Washington, D.C. A group of activists who've driven across the country and have rallied against federal and state bans on gay marriage in 10 cities were to lead the event.
"We did this project because we thought America needed to hear the voice for equal marriage rights from those directly impacted by marriage discrimination," said Molly McKay, associate executive director of Marriage Equality California. "Our rights and our lives should not be used as political footballs." Added Davina Kotulski, author of Why You Should Give a Damn About Gay Marriage: "We refuse to accept second-class citizenship in this country. From Laramie to Pittsburgh we were greeted with open hearts by so many fair-minded Americans."
CSPAN2 was scheduled to broadcast the entire rally live. For more information click on www.marriageequalityca.org.
Meanwhile, Monday was also the country's 16th annual National Coming Out Day. This year's theme is "Come Out. Speak Out. Vote," which is meant to remind GLBT Americans to talk to their families and friends about who they plan to vote for in the race for president. "Our allies are critical to winning equality," said Cheryl Jacques, executive director of national gay rights group Human Rights Campaign. "As politicians try to use gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender issues as a wedge, we must be sure to get our friends and families involved in the fight for equal rights."
In December 2003 the HRC Foundation conducted a public opinion poll of GLBT people, which found that while 77% of respondents consider themselves "out" as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered, only 32% talk to their parents about public policy issues, and only 46% talk to their brothers and sisters about such topics. In contrast, respondents were much more likely to speak frankly on these
topics with casual acquaintances (57%) or coworkers (54%).
"It's critical that every American who cares about equality vote this year," added Jacques. "This is the election of our lives, and we need the support of every friend, family member, and loved one." National Coming Out Day is celebrated every October 11 to mark the anniversary of the 1987 March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights.