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LGBT community to respond to anti-Gay conference in Lynnwood
LGBT community to respond to anti-Gay conference in Lynnwood
Seattle Police on heightened alert

by Liz Meyer - SGN Staff Writer

Last week, the Seattle Gay News reported plans by an anti-Gay group, Watchmen on the Walls, to convene in Lynnwood for a conference this upcoming weekend.

The movement draws its followers mainly from Russian-speaking, conservative evangelical churches. Pastor Ken Hutcherson of Antioch Bible Church in Redmond, an ardent opponent of Gay marriage and co-founder of the group, is set to speak at the event. The Watchmen and the violently anti-Gay stance the group supports, may have ties to the murder of a Gay man in Sacramento earlier this year, according to an article released by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

National watchdog groups have called the Watchmen "virulently anti-Gay." Other members of the group include author Scott Lively, whose book, The Pink Swastika: Homosexuality in the Nazi Party, posits that Gays were responsible for the Holocaust.

The Lynnwood Convention Center's website estimates about 700 attendees will the event, scheduled to take place October 19-21.

A source within the Seattle Police Department said that the LGBT Community Center had been in touch with them about the conference. He added that police force were concerned and would be taking steps to ensure the safety of Seattle's LGBT community.

Several informal protests, and at least one event sponsored by local LGBT rights groups, have been planned in response to the conference.

LGBT organizations are sponsoring an alternative event, "Love and Pride: Lynnwood Responds to Hate," at 3 p.m. on Sunday, October 21, at Edmonds Unitarian Universalist Church (8109 224th St. SW., Edmonds). Speakers, a free screening of Inlaws and Outlaws, and a vigil are part of the event.

"The goal of Equal Rights Washington is to end discrimination against LGBT people throughout the state," said Lauren Parke, a field organizer with ERW. "Organizations such as Watchmen on the Wall stand in direct opposition to our work, so ERW is proud to be standing alongside the Religious Coalition for Equality and the True Stories Project as well as many other groups and organizatons, sending the message that the voice of justice and equality still rings loud and clear in Lynnwood."

In addition to this planned response to the conference, the Watchmen conference has also seemed to spark a grassroots push by the general public to respond. Message boards for local newspapers and blogs have all featured a flurry of activity this week regarding the conference, with many people from around the area calling for a visible LGBT presence at the conference.

"A peaceful protest is planned for this Saturday, Oct. 20, 2007," stated an 'Official Protest Notice' distributed on blogs and through sites on Myspace and Blogger.com. "It is our goal to surround the Convention Center located at 3711 196 St. SW, Lynnwood, 98036 at 9:30 a.m. Their conference begins at 11:00 and we want to greet them as they arrive.

"We simply want to gather as they enter so they can see a large showing of people from all walks of life, all ages, genders and sexual orientation telling them that Snohomish County is NO place for hate."

At last August's Watchmen on the Walls conference in Novosibirsk, Russia, Lively said: "The Watchmen is an organization of men and women with courage&and without compromise, [they] demand that the culture follow the guidance of god, that marriage and family must be held at the highest level. "The homosexual movement teaches sexual freedom, and its first target are the heterosexual people.... The homosexual activists stay hidden, but they taught this philosophy to their activists. And out of this philosophy came the principalities and powers that are destroying the West: the pornography industry, the abortion industry, and the destruction of marriage through divorce. These things are the product of a way of thinking. And their purpose is to change the culture of the world. And we are looking at the future collapse of Western world. The Watchmen on the Walls is an organization to fight against this collapse." The Watchmen on the Walls has also been linked to the New Generation Church and No Pride, the groups at the center of the anti-Gay movement seen at the 2006 Riga Pride that culminated in the throwing of animal excrement at Gays.


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