Gay marriage actions heat up across U.S.
By Amy Muldoon, Lauren Fleer and Amanda Maystead | March 5, 2004 | Page 11
AROUND THE country, supporters of gay and lesbian rights are protesting George W. Bush's February 24 announcement in support of a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. In New York City, 300 people turned out for a press conference at the Gay and Lesbian Community Center. "Bush has declared war on gay Americans," said one Black gay leader. "And this is one war he won't win."
A few days later, hundreds showed up at a strategy meeting to plan pro-gay marriage actions in New York. When a handful of people argued that we needed to support a Democrat and moderate our demands so as not to rock the boat for the candidates, a debate took off.
Several activists, including ISO members and veterans of ACT UP and Queer Nation, argued that waiting never leads to change, as was true in the fight for civil rights for Blacks. The debate continued over whether to protest the Democratic candidate debates at CBS that weekend.
The fact that the Human Rights Campaign and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force publicly attacked Kerry days before for his opposition to gay marriage in Massachusetts made it easier to win people to protesting. Sunday morning, some 300 people showed up to challenge the candidates, chanting "Kerry and Edwards take a stand/Equal marriage we demand."
Later that day, 1,500 rallied at a press conference called by Marriage Equality New York at City Hall calling for the immediate issuing of licenses to gay couples. More actions are planned for this week, with a protest at the Municipal Building as well as attempts by same-sex couples to apply for licenses.
David Thurston and Steve Trussell contributed to this report.