Forum to Kick-off "Right to Marry" in Hudson Valley

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SOULFORCE MEDIA ADVISORY: March 14, 2008
For Immediate Release

Contact: Haven Herrin, Soulforce Q Director
Cell: 469-867-5725
haven@soulforce.org
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What:  The Town + Gown Marriage Meet-up

Soulforce Q and ACT OUT Vassar invite local students, businesspeople, clergy, and activists to learn about Right to Marry, a campaign that asks Hudson Valley business leaders to publicly express their support for marriage equality.

The Town + Gown Marriage Meet-up will introduce a weekend of trainings and discussion about the Bible, marriage, and activism.  All are welcome to sign-up to learn and participate in the campaign.

When: Thursday, March 27, at 7 pm
 
Where:Vassar campus, room TBA

Why: Small businesses may know better than anyone the need for community support and protection in order to succeed. The Right to Marry Campaign will ask Hudson Valley businesses to show support for their lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender neighbors. Their participation will provide meaningful evidence of community support for marriage equality with chambers of commerce, city councils, mayors, and local politicians.

Who: ACT OUT aims to create a dialogue within and outside of the Vassar community in hopes of encouraging active participation in the national campaign to end gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer (GLBTQ) oppression.

Soulforce Q is the young adult division of Soulforce, a social justice organization that works to end political and religious oppression of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people through relentless nonviolent resistance.

For more information, visit www.righttomarry.org.

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Six Vassar Students Arrested in Times Square Protest Over "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell"

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SOULFORCE PRESS RELEASE: November 5, 2006
For Immediate Release
Contact: Haven Herrin, 469-867-5725, haven@soulforce.org
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(New York, NY) — Six Vassar College students were arrested at 3 p.m. Friday at the Armed Forces Recruiting Station in Times Square. The students were holding a peaceful sit-in to protest the federal policy that denies openly gay Americans the right to serve in the military. They were charged with criminal trespassing and released Saturday evening.

Five of the arrestees — David Rodriguez, Pete Whinn, Julia Golomb, Clare Ciervo, and Leslie Hamilton — were inside the recruiting station to support a sixth student, Curt Peterson. Peterson, a gay man, entered the station at 1 p.m. and attempted to enlist in the Army without hiding who he is or whom he loves. When his attempt to enlist was denied on the basis of sexual orientation, Peterson and 12 supporters commenced the sit-in. Sixty additional students from Vassar held a simultaneous sit-in in Times Square.

The Vassar students are part of the Right to Serve campaign, a nationwide effort in which young, gay adults are attempting to enlist in the military in order to catalyze discussion about the human and national security costs of "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell."

Since the beginning of the summer, 43 openly gay young people affiliated with Right to Serve have attempted to enlist in 17 cities. They range from recent high school graduates to recent college graduates, but each one has been denied the opportunity to enlist because of sexual orientation.

Previously, Peterson was one of three gay Americans who attempted to enlist in Times Square on September 25. When Peterson and his fellow enlistees arrived at the office, they found the country’s busiest recruiting center locked and dark. The would-be recruits held a sit-in with more than eighty supporters from area colleges. Throughout the day, enlistees unaffiliated with the Right to Serve showed up for recruiting appointments, but they found that recruiters had cancelled appointments without notice in order to avoid gay Americans who wish to serve their country with honesty and dignity.

More recently, three young people were denied the right to serve on October 10 in Los Angeles. Among them was Vincent Cervantes, a student at Azusa Pacific University. Cervantes and five other Azusa Pacific students were arrested in the sit-in that followed. The following day, Cervantes posted his testimony as a gay student on the conservative Christian campus, claiming that the experience of standing up for social justice had made it impossible for him to live in the closet. Cervantes has since withdrawn from Azusa rather than "repent" in accordance with school policy.

Right to Serve Campaign Returns to New York

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SOULFORCE PRESS RELEASE: November 3, 2006
For Immediate Release
Contact: Haven Herrin, 469-867-5725, haven@soulforce.org
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(New York, NY) — At 1:00 pm today, Curt Peterson will walk into the Armed Forces Recruiting Station in Times Square for an appointment with an Army recruiting officer.

He hopes the recruiter shows up.

Peterson was one of three openly gay Americans who attempted to enlist in Times Square on September 25. When Peterson and his fellow enlistees arrived at the office, they found the country’s busiest recruiting center locked and dark. The would-be recruits held a sit-in with more than eighty supporters from area colleges. Throughout the day, enlistees unaffiliated with the Right to Serve showed up for recruiting appointments, but they found that recruiters had cancelled appointments without notice in order to avoid facing gay Americans who wish to serve their country with honesty and dignity.

Peterson is part of the Right to Serve campaign, a coordinated effort in which young, gay adults are attempting to enlist in the military in order to catalyze national discussion about "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell." Since the beginning of the summer, 43 openly gay young people have attempted to enlist in 17 cities. They range from recent high school graduates to recent college graduates, but each one has been denied the opportunity to enlist because of sexual orientation.

Three young people were denied the right to serve on October 10 in Los Angeles. Among them was Vincent Cervantes, a student at Azusa Pacific University. Cervantes and five other Azusa Pacific students were arrested in the sit-in that followed, bringing the total number of arrests in the campaign to 54. The following day, Cervantes posted his testimony as a gay student on the conservative Christian campus, claiming that the experience of standing up for social justice had made it impossible for him to live in the closet. Cervantes has since withdrawn from Azusa rather than submit to "reparative" therapy in accordance with school policy.

Today in Times Square, Peterson, who is a student at Vassar, will be joined by supporters from that institution. If Peterson is again denied the right to enlist, he and his fellow students plan to stage a second peaceful sit-in in Times Square.

The Right to Serve campaign is a project of Soulforce, an LGBT social justice organization dedicated to using nonviolent direct action to expose injustice and call attention to the real costs of homophobia.