April 24, 2011 — New York, NY – Today, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) and allied activists from two different groups walked within the Fifth Avenue Easter Parade in New York City in memory of Americans whose lives have been lost as a result of prejudice and hate against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people. The groups formed two processions, walking through tens of thousands of people from 44th and 57th Streets on Fifth Avenue, carrying large signs showing faces of some of those killed or driven to suicide due to hate against them. Both processions met in front of St. Patrick’s Cathedral and were led by a large banner that read, “Protect the Sanctity of Our Lives. Full Civil Rights NOW!”
“The New York Times reported that a study by the Public Religion Research Institute shows that 74% of American Catholics support the right of gay citizens to marry or form civil unions. Our experience today, being warmly welcomed by the Catholic community as we protested in front of St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Easter Sunday, affirmed these results and proved that the Catholic church is out of step with its constituents and moral decency,” says Jake Goodman, a member of Queer Rising.
Read the NYT article : http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/24/fashion/24Noticed.html <http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/24/fashion/24Noticed.html>
Activists picked Easter Sunday to increase their visibility in front of the Catholic Church because last month, Archbishop Timothy Dolan, other Bishops, and other Catholics of New York State traveled to Albany to lobby state leaders on March 8th and 9th to ”oppose efforts to redefine marriage.” In the last year, we have witnessed a spree of hate crimes against LGBTQ Americans, including, tragically, a very public spike in LGBTQ teen suicides. This unnecessary loss of life will continue as long as our culture encourages heterosexism. Opposing marriage equality feeds the hate that causes people to see LGBTQ people as others in society, making them seemingly easier targets for hate and causing LGBTQ people to take their own lives.
During Easter services in New York City, some Catholics received a flyer opposing an upcoming New York State Senate vote on marriage equality. “Catholics are being lied to by their own clergy. The baseless claims in the hateful flyer some churches had the audacity to hand out to parishioners is in stark contrast to the truth we brought to the people on this glorious day,” said Alan Bounville, one of today’s organizers.
At noon, once the groups reached St. Patrick’s Cathedral, two Catholics who are also gay men, Brendan Fay and William Burger, went inside the cathedral to light candles.
“I went inside St Patrick’s Cathedral with Will Berger and lit two candles – one in grief and one for hope! Grief for those LGBTQ youth whose lives were cut short by suicide and anti-gay violence and prejudice,” said Fay. “I lit a second candle for hope – for the passage of equal civil marriage rights in New York.
While the candle lighting was taking place, co-organizer Louis Flores gave a speech to the large crowd that had formed outside the cathedral, calling all who support the fight for equality to rise up and become active fighting for their rights and the rights of others. Then, the group of protestors led all who bared witness in the singing of the hymn, “This Little Light of Mine,” while names of LGBTQ murder and suicide victims were shouted at the doors of St. Patrick’s.
Link to speech: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kCNriHBmbts
Instant media reaction to today’s protest:
About LGBT Civil Rights:
Marriage is a vehicle that society uses to distribute rights, benefits, and equality. One way for LGBTQ Americans to access equal rights would be to be allowed to legally marry. Another way, which would work concurrently, would be to outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity by amending the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
About Connecting Rainbows:
Connecting Rainbows is a group of activists that are organizing civil rights walks in America. The group’s mission is to create a mass movement, demanding full civil rights for LGBTQ Americans. Connecting Rainbows uses the power of a social media platform, where activists may create online profiles, meet other activists, plan events, join groups, blog, and participate in online forums. Visit: http://connectingrainbows.ning.com/
About Queer Rising:
Queer Rising is a grassroots organization created to demand full equality for all queer people through nonviolent direct action. Formed in late 2009 by people tired of watching LGBTQ rights put on the back burner or given no attention at all, Queer Rising vows to continue to pressure legislators and the public until all queer people are equal. Find us Facebook, Twitter, or visit us at: www.QueerRising.org <http://www.queerrising.org/