We Stood for Equality on October 11
The Standing on the Side of Love campaign was captivated when we first heard of the National Equality March on Washington and its simple and profound ask: equal protection for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in all matters governed by civil law in all 50 states. Now.
We quickly decided to work with communities across the nation to take action on October 11th by coming to Washington, D.C. or holding events locally. Adam Gerhardstein, Campaign Manager, enthusiastically called for people all across the nation to join in the effort with this video:
We started by launching a petition for full equality that amplified the call for full equality by combining it with our religious imperative to stand on the side of love. We then called for people to organize locally, eventually registering 61 events on our website. To help local organizers, we created a host toolkit which included sample media advisories, fliers, checklists and the Petition for Full Equality.
To show the profound need for justice, we shared the stories of people who face inequalities daily. Three ministers, including Rev. Meg Riley, the Campaign Director, shared their stories in this video:
Throughout the month leading up to October 11th we sent numerous emails to our large email list calling for people to join in the national day of action. Rev. Meg Riley spoke of her family’s struggle for equality:
It hurts me every time I see my thirteen year old daughter realize that her family is not equal in this land. Watching her learn, over and over, what I have known for decades-that equality is still a dream for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in the United States of America-makes it freshly painful for me each time.
Rev. Mike Morran called for local communities to follow the lead of his Denver Congregation, which worshiped on the steps of the state capitol for LGBT equality.
As a faith and pastoral leader, I witness inequality daily. I minister to dozens of fine and faithful couples who are prevented (by law!) from rights and responsibilities granted to other couples. As a citizen, a voter, and a believer in democracy, I say to my government, “You can make discrimination legal, but you can’t make it right!” As a father of two children, I teach them that America is founded on equality, freedom, and fairness. How do I explain to them that under current law, some are more equal and free than others? For all of these reasons, I will continue to bring my congregation to the Capitol Building every year. We will sing, praise, worship, protest, and stand on the side of love.
Adam Gerhardstein wrote about his experiences as a straight man playing on an LGBT softball team. He pledged to march for all his teammates and encouraged other straight people to come out as allies.
And in the immediate days leading up to October 11th, Annette Marquis issued a impassioned call for action. She urged that we move beyond a piecemeal approach, saying:
When California’s Proposition 8 revoked marriage equality, I realized that we had taken what Martin Luther King Jr. referred to as the “tranquilizing drug of gradualism.” We came to accept that small, incremental steps were good enough – that things weren’t so bad today – and we just needed to keep on trudging along and take the crumbs we were being thrown along the way. The day of action’s single demand–Equal protection in all matters governed by civil law in all 50 states– captured my imagination and convinced me that incremental steps are not good enough, especially when our meager advances can get wrenched away from us at any point along the way. I now believe that unless we demand federal legislation to protect the rights of LGBT people, we will never be first-class citizens.
Finally, the day arrived. Over 1,500 people came to Washington, D.C. to march under the Standing on the Side of Love banner. We were the most visible part of the March with our bright yellow shirts and our bold orange banners and signs. People were hungry for a message of love and we were supplying it. All across the nation people stood on street corners, walked across bridges, and held vigil in solidarity with the National Equality March. Over a dozen stories about the March included our Standing on the Side of Love message and our shirts popped up in many televised segments, including one on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. The overall message of full equality for LGBT people found its way into hundreds, if not thousands, of news outlets all across the country.
Here is the video recapping the energy and inspiration that brought people into the streets on October 11th.
And the striking visuals of the Standing on the Side of Love campaign jump out of this photo slideshow:
Standing on the Side of Love is still looking for feedback from our event host and event participants. If you participated in one of these events please fill out our feedback survey. Your responses help us create more effective campaigns.
A final, special thanks to everyone who stood on the side of love with us on this amazing day.