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Senator Harry Reid endorses National Equality March
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Senator Harry Reid endorses National Equality March

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Staff Writer

Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) endorsed the National Equality March on September 30, adding his name to the over 200 notable leaders and supporters of the LGBT community who've endorsed the march.

On October 11, thousands of people are expected to participate in the National Equality March in Washington, D.C., to demand equal protection in all matters governed by civil law in all 50 states.

In a September 30 statement to the National March for Equality Steering Committee, Sen. Reid said he believes that "every American should be treated equally under the law regardless of religion, sexual orientation, gender, race, or other forms of identity."

"I see your struggle for equality as a part of a larger movement for peace and social justice," Sen. Reid told the committee.

In a message directed to LGBT Americans, Sen. Reid wrote, "As you prepare to come to Washington, D.C. for the National Equality March, I write to join in your commitment to ensure equality under the law. As Senate Majority Leader, I will continue to work tirelessly to pass the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act and the Employee Non-Discrimination Act, as well as to repeal the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy. I will also continue to advocate funding of HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, research, and housing programs."

Equality Across America, a decentralized network of organizers in every one of America's 435 congressional districts, which organized the National Equality March, has said that the October 11 march is not the end for the movement; it's the first step to building a grassroots network in every Congressional district.

"We are guaranteed equal protection under the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution," Equality Across America posted on the organization's website. "Free and equal people do not bargain for or prioritize our rights."

The organization writes, "Full equality necessarily includes all members of the LGBT community and encompasses, but is not limited to, the right to work our jobs and go to school free of harassment and discrimination, the right to safety in our daily lives and protection from hate crimes, the right to equitable healthcare and to donate blood, the right to equitable immigration policies, the right to marry, and the right to serve in the military openly."

"Many bills currently exist to address some of these issues," said Equality Across America, adding, "but we do not support a piecemeal strategy. We seek one federal solution to full equality."

The importance of such a high-profile senator endorsing the National Equality March indicates that senior leadership in D.C. is beginning to listen. In a year that has seen a resurgence of activism within the Gay movement, the lesson learned in 2009 may just be that actions really do speak louder than words. As the date for the march approaches, the number of its supporters continues to grow, as do the number of solidarity marches planned to take place in nearly every state.

For more information about the National Equality March and Equality Across America visit the official website at www.equalityacrossamerica.org.

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