October 10-12 Activities include Civil Marriage Forum, Pride Festival, and Vigil at Jerry Falwell’s Thomas Road Baptist Church
Soulforce Press Release: October 1, 2003
For Immediate Release
Contact: Laura Montgomery Rutt
Cell 717-278-0592 email:Laura@soulforce.org
(Lynchburg, VA) – A weekend of gay pride and activism in Lynchburg, Virginia will take place October 10-12, 2003, and is being sponsored by 27 religious and civil rights organizations. Lynchburg is the home of anti-gay televangelist Jerry Falwell, who stated that he is dedicating his talents, time, and energies to the passage of an (anti-gay) amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
“Jerry Falwell says that he wants to ‘protect traditional families,’ but what he is doing is promoting discrimination against our families,” said Gina Grubb, one of the organizers from Tennessee. “Our families are families, too. What Jerry doesn’t seem to grasp is that it is LOVE that makes a family, not the family structure itself!”
OCTOBER 11 – NATIONAL COMING OUT DAY in LYNCHBURG, VA
9:00 am – CIVIL MARRIAGE EQUALITY FORUM focused on religious support for equal marriage rights, at First Christian Church, 3019 Rivermont Avenue – with representatives from Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, People for the American Way, Interfaith Working Group, and Dontamend.com.
12:30 am – PRIDE MARCH TO THE PARK from First Christian Church to Riverside Park, along Rivermont Avenue.
1:00 pm – COMING OUT AND ABOUT IN LYNCHBURG – This mini-pridefest includes merchandise from Lambda Rising Bookstore – Washington DC, information booths from many of the sponsors listed below, and a variety of music – female impersonator Ravyn Vega from Lynchburg, trombonist Ben Hunt and singer/songwriter Shana Scudder, both formerly of Lynchburg, electric guitarist Joe Osborne from Charlottesville, Christian contemporary singer Marcus Young, singer/songwriter Judy Insly, poet Laurie Pollack, opera singer Arthur Pekar, and more. Speakers will include openly gay Muslim cleric Imam Abdullah from Washington DC, Rev. Jimmy Creech, Rev. Mel White, founder of Soulforce, and others. Soulforce Youth coordinator Jake Reitan will be the emcee.
Other weekend activities include:
- October 9-10, (Thurs-Fri) Soulforce local group grassroots training – Wyndam Inn on Candler Mt. Road.
- October 10 at 7pm, (Fri. night) Soulforce Nonviolence training –First Christian Church, 3019 Rivermont Ave.
- October 12 at 8am, (Sunday morning) Vigil and blessing of families in front of Falwell’s church – Thomas Road Baptist Church.
Sponsors include: Al-Fatiha (GLBTQI Muslims), Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Catawba Valley PFLAG, Dontamend.com, Equality Virginia, Family Pride Coalition, First Christian Church (Lynchburg), Fellowship of Reconcilliation, First Light Ministries, Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), Interfaith Working Group, Lambda Rising Bookstore, Log Cabin Republican Club of Virginia, Love Makes a Family, Inc., Lynchburg PFLAG, Marriage Equality – USA, MCC Charlottesville, New Beginnings Christian Church of Richmond, People for the American Way, Planned Parenthood of the Blue Ridge, Remnant Worship Group, Roanoke – 7, Soulforce, Inc., Virginia NOW, Virginia Organizing Project – Lynchburg Chapter, Virginia Partisans Gay & Lesbian Democratic Club, World Congress of GLBT Jews, and more added daily.
MEDIA VISUALS: Throughout the weekend, participants will carry large photographs of same-gender couples and their families. A blessing of couples and families will take place outside Thomas Road Baptist Church on Sunday during services.
For more information, see www.soulforce.org. For media interviews, call 717-278-0592.
Soulforce is a national interfaith movement committed to ending spiritual violence perpetuated by religious policies and teachings against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people. Soulforce employs the nonviolent principles of Gandhi and King to the liberation of sexual and gender minorities.