by Shaun Knittel -
SGN Staff Writer
On October 11, over 200,000 people marched on Washington D.C. in the National Equality March to demand equal protection for LGBT people in all matters governed by civil law in all 50 states. In a show of solidarity, over 2,000 people marched in the Seattle OUTprotest Equality March from Volunteer Park on Capitol Hill, down Broadway, and ended up at the Federal Courthouse.
In Seattle, the call for equality across the board was the same as at the D.C. event. Of special local importance, however, was the message to approve Referendum 71.
During the pre-march rally, State Representative Jamie Pedersen, a Democrat from the 43rd District, asked the crowd to "remember to vote, and remember to tell your friends and family to vote to approve Referendum 71." Pedersen reminded everyone that ballots would be out this week.
The march, which stretched nearly four blocks, acted as one giant plea to approve Referendum 71. Nearly half of those marching held signs asking voters to "APPROVE REFERENDUM 71." Likewise, many times during the march, participants began to chant, "Approve 71! Approve 71! Approve 71!" Along the route, people came out of Capitol Hill businesses to wave their own "Approve Ref. 71" signs and show support. Many joined the march to the federal courthouse from the sidewalk.
The local equality march was the main event of a weekend filled with LGBT equality workshops, an AIDS vigil, and community advocacy.
Throughout the day, Seattle OUTprotest officials scheduled guest speakers to educate the crowd on topics such as immigration, health care, HIV/AIDS, bullying, repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," approving Ref. 71, hate crimes legislation, hate crimes, labor, and racism and sexism within the community.
The Seattle Equality March was a success in that coalitions were built from within the LGBT community. People from all ages, races, ethnicities, gender, and sexual orientation showed up to march for equality.
The Seattle LGBT Equality Weekend, the Equality March and rally were endorsed by nearly 50 organizations, including PFLAG, Entre Hermanos, 5th District Democrats, Pride at Work, and Seattle Gay News.
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