Austin, Texas (PRWEB) March 26, 2009
Advocates for LGBT equality, looking to develop dialogue about gay rights with members of faith communities across the nation, will embark on the Sundays of Solidarity campaign - visiting churches, synagogues, and other faith community gatherings across the nation -- for seven straight Sundays this coming May and June.
The nationwide action, co-sponsored by Austin-based organizations Atticus Circle and Soulforce, aims to engage members of a wide variety of faith communities in discussions about faith, dignity, and equal rights for LGBT (lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender) individuals and couples.
The actions will start on May 17, which is observed as International Day Against Homophobia by a growing number of international gay rights organizations, and will end on June 28 - the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in New York City, considered to be the start of the modern gay rights era.
Participants in the campaign will wear T-shirts and buttons proclaiming "Gay? Fine by Me" and "Gay Marriage? Fine By Me," available via a special page on the Atticus Circle website (http://finebyme.org/sos.html), attending worship services and other faith community meetings across the country. Participants will also engage in non-violence training prior to the campaign, provided by organizers.
According to Soulforce executive director Jeff Lutes, "These actions aren't designed to create tension; rather, they're designed to expose and reduce the tension that already exists around LGBT rights in this country. Our hope for Sundays of Solidarity is that participants are able to talk to people in their own faith communities, visit other faith communities, and help people understand the fundamental need for LGBT equality."
Atticus Circle executive director Jodie Eldridge notes, "Our organization is made up of straight people who realize that LGBT Americans should enjoy the same rights as straight Americans do. Wearing a shirt or button proclaiming 'Gay? Fine By Me' is a simple but effective way to let people know that LGBT equality supporters are real people out in the community, willing to be visible and show their commitment."
"One of these fundamental rights is practicing one's faith," Eldridge added. "For some LGBT individuals, being recognized and accepted within one's faith community is a first, crucial step toward achieving equal rights."
This is not the first action Soulforce and Atticus Circle have collaborated on; in 2007 and 2008, the groups came together to sponsor Seven Straight Nights, a series of vigils and awareness-raising events held across the nation to bring LGBT equality supporters together in demonstrations of public support.
Lutes notes, "Seven Straight Nights gave us an opportunity to build awareness and create energy for a number of people who acknowledge the need for LGBT equality in this country. Sundays of Solidarity is a way to engage people who may view LGBT equality differently than we do, or who haven't given it as much thought as we have. We can't wait to have these essential conversations with a wider circle of people."