Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Reflection On The National Equality March

by Neil Houghton
Vice President for Local Affairs
Integrity USA

Approximately 250,000 LGBT activists marched past St. John’s, Lafayette Square, where President Obama had attended Sunday services a few hours before, to gather on the west lawn of the Capitol. As the crowd filled the lawn, it stretched as far as I could see down Pennsylvania Ave.

The Rev. Troy Perry, founder of the Metropolitan Community Church delivered the invocation. He was flanked by a diverse group of faith leaders. Josh Blackwood, Chair of the Stakeholder’s Council and I were proud and privileged to represent Integrity USA. As faith leaders, we stood in solidarity with Perry. The Capitol steps on which President Obama was inaugurated was our backdrop. The Rev. Rod Reinhart (Chicago), who participated in planning the official Interfaith Service, stood with us as well. Rev. Perry movingly invoked the spirits of a long list of LGBT leaders from many faiths, ethnic groups and races who came before us to advance civil rights for all.

Many Integrity NYC members joined us at the march, including Chap James Day, Province 2 Coordinator, and David Casey, NYC Chapter Convener.

At the rally many activists and allies spoke, including Urvashi Vaid, Cynthia Nixon, Audra McDonald, Cleve Jones, David Mixner, Judy Shepard and the cast of Hair, which rescheduled a performance of the show on Broadway to be in Washington.

Before the rally, I spoke with the Rev. Perry, who has been present at all five LGBT rallies in DC. He said, "We are asking the the courts, the members of congress and the President of the United States to change things."

He told me he was so pleased that Integrity USA was represented so well at the march. Perry shared, "As always, I am thrilled to death to have all my brothers and sisters from the faith community involved. We can be patriotic and we can be faithful. It’s a new day..."

While Matthew Shepard’s mother, Judy, was waiting to speak, I approached to thank her for her efforts and to congratulate her on the passage of the Matthew Sheperd Hate Crimes Bill, which the President will sign into law this week. I asked her if she was an Episcopalian and she said she was, and so was Matthew. S he told me her parents believed that she should be able to choose where she went to church. When she was 15 years old she chose the Episcopal Church. She added the progress we have made toward being fully inclusive has made her especially happy.

1 comment:


So glad we were so well represented!