On Tuesday night, about ten people gathered at the Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center (MLGCC) for the first planning meeting of the Mid-South delegation for the National Equality March. Of those ten, most expressed an interest in attending the national march in Washington DC on Sunday, October 11th.
During the march, LGBT folks and straight allies will be demanding full federal LGBT equality in matters governed by civil law in all 50 states. That means the right to marry, employment protection, an end to the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy, and inclusive hate crime legislation.
"We're tired of local and state legislative bodies trying to piecemeal the effort by passing ordinances here and there," said local organizer Tommy Simmons. "We want equal rights at the federal level across the board. Case closed."
Previous gay right marches in 1979, 1987, and 1992 drew anywhere from 100,000 to 250,000 people, and this march is expected to meet or even exceed attendance from past years. All the previous marches boasted delegations from Memphis.
Unlike in year's past, however, this march will not feature celebrities or fancy after-parties. The goal is strictly a grassroots effort in lobbying the federal government for LGBT rights. Simmons recommends attendees arrive in DC by Friday, October 9th since there will be a series of lobbying training meetings on the Saturday before the march.
It's not too late to join the local delegation. Those interested should join the National Equality March's 9th Congressional District Facebook page. There will also be another informational meeting at the MGLCC on Tuesday, August 11th at 6:30 p.m.