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January 5, 2007
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Volume 35
Issue 01
 
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Date for 2007 Equality Day announced
Date for 2007 Equality Day announced
'We must ... lobby the legislature and educate the public about [a] broad spectrum of topics...," said ERW's Barbara Green.

The Religious Coalition for Equality and Equal Rights Washington announced today that the third annual Equality Day in Olympia will be held February 26, 2007.

On Equality Day, clergy and people of faith-both straight and Gay-will gather with other allies and members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community to lobby their legislators to end legal discrimination against Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender individuals and families.

A noontime rally will provide legislators and others an opportunity to hear prominent clergy & community leaders speak in support of Gay rights. The Equality Day rally typically draws over 1,500 attendees. Past speakers have included Rev. Monica Corsaro, Rabbi Jonathon Singer, Governor Christine Gregoire, and Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown.

After the rally, clergy and Equality Day participants will have an opportunity to meet with their legislators. Equality Day is an opportunity for people to discuss why they support LGBT civil rights. Stories told by clergy and straight supporters of Gay rights are just as powerful as stories told by members of the LGBT community. Equality Day is an opportunity for people of faith, labor union members, school teachers, grandmothers, and teenagers to join together and show their support for marriage equality and other rights currently denied the Gay community.

"As a pastor who has many Gay families and individuals in my congregation, I see how legal inequalities deny Gays and Lesbians the basic protections my heterosexual congregants (and my wife and I) take for granted every day. Particularly troubling to me is that same-sex couples in committed relationships are denied the right to marry. The couples and their children are denied over 1,400 legal protections that come with civil marriage. In addition, the state is imposing the religious values of some faith traditions over those of other faith traditions that do consider same-sex relationships holy," said Dr. Stephen Jones of Seattle First Baptist Church.

Marriage equality is a matter of both basic civil rights and religious liberty. Common to almost all faith traditions is a strong desire to seek justice; it should be of little surprise that clergy, congregations, and people of faith are leaders and active participants in the struggle to end discrimination in the issuance of civil marriage licenses.

"Marriage equality in Washington State is inevitable. However, as we continue the discussion about marriage equality in the legislature and communities across the state, we also need to address the immediate needs of Lesbian and Gay families today," said Barbara Green, Interim Executive Director of Equal Rights Washington.

"Marriage equality alone will not address many of the issues that confront the Gay community: safe schools; affordable and quality healthcare; and services for older Gay couples and individuals. While we work for marriage equality, we must also lobby the legislature and educate the public about this broad spectrum of topics," added Green.

Faith communities and organizations from all across Washington State will organize busses and carpools to Olympia for Equality Day. People who wish to attend can learn more at the ERW and RCE websites: equalrightswashington.org and www.religiouscoalition-wa.org.

The Religious Coalition for Equality (RCE) provides a progressive interfaith voice in Washington regarding equal rights and marriage equality for the LGBT community. RCE offers a vision and voice that stands in stark contrast to what far-right religious leaders intend to impose on the nation. Equal Rights Washington (ERW) is a statewide political advocacy organization with over 20,000 advocates who are working to promote the dignity, safety, and equality for all Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Washingtonians.

A joint RCE/ERW press release

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