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08/13/2010

NOM's final tour stop: Our only fear is that Will might be too mature for this childish game

by Jeremy Hooper

During the National Organization For Marriage's monthlong attempt to chill the warmest season with hurtful bias, we've seen huge crowds come out and overshadow Brian Brown and crew's odd and odious way of earning material for a "What I Did on My Summer Vacation" essay. But this weekend at the final stop in marriage-equality-having D.C., we on the side of basic civil fairness might just see our biggest rally yet. And we'll most certainly see our youngest keynoter:

Outspoken Arkansas Grade Schooler, Will Phillips to Speak at DC LGBT Equality Rally This Sunday

Washington, DC -– As part of their anti-gay summer bus tour, The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) has planned an appearance on August 15, 2010 in Washington, DC. This rally is the finale of their “One Woman, One Man” Summer for Marriage Tour through 19 cities. The tour has hosted rallies in 19 cities orchestrated to collect anti-
12391 100591459978059 100000816164500 13425 5796336 Ngay propaganda, increase donations, and garner community support for their cause.

In response to NOM’s D.C. rally, Broadway Cares, Clergy United for Marriage Equality, The Courage Campaign, Freedom to Marry, Full Equality Now! DC, GetEQUAL, and Take Back Pride along with the support of of dozens of community endorsers, has have issued a call to action for “The Big Commit: Exchanging Vows with Equality”. Our national coalition of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, and intersex (LGBTQI) organizations, activists, and allies, in solidarity with open and affirming faith communities, are hosting a rally on August 15th from 2-4pm at Freedom Plaza (Pennsylvania Ave NW between 13th & 14th. Washington, DC) to counter the distortions, distractions, and discriminatory agenda of NOM.

Among the featured speakers is Will Phillips, the 11-year old Arkansas student who took a brave stand late last year when he refused to say the Pledge of Allegiance. He didn’t agree that there truly was “liberty and justice for all.” When his teacher demanded he stand up and join the class in the pledge will says he “very solemnly with a little bit of malice in my voice said, "Ma'am, with all due respect, you can go jump off a bridge." Since then, Will and his parents have appeared on CNN and many other networks have picked up Will’s courageous story.

For Will and his father Jay Phillips, this is their first trip to the Nation’s Capitol. Will’s mother, Laura Phillips says “We are looking forward to seeing the Capitol and the White House and the Supreme Court…We are active allies because we know that the idea that someone out there trying to declare what makes a family is just silly.” Jay and Laura were both raised in single parent, non-traditional homes.

Other speakers expected for The Big Commit include DC City Council Members, David Catania and Phil Mendelson, Freedom to Marry’s Michael Crawford, Spoken Word Artist Jonquille SolSis Rice and Jonathan Howard & Gregory Jones (runners up in the Crate & Barrel Wedding contest).

For further information please visit www.bigcommit.org and www.freedomtomarry.org/summer-for-marriage

***

**Full disclosure: Good As You has signed on to endorse this "Big Commit" effort. Another press release with full endorsement list:

Broad Coalition Unites to Take a Stand for Marriage Equality and To Counter the National Organization for Marriage’s Anti-Gay Tour

Who: The Coalition: Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, Clergy United for Marriage Equality, The Courage Campaign, Freedom To Marry, Full Equality Now! DC, GetEQUAL, The Human Rights Campaign, Take Back Pride.

Endorsed by:
Talk About Equality, Corey Johnson (Towleroad.com), Jeremy Hooper (GoodAsYou.org), Cathy Marino-Thomas (Board President, Marriage Equality NY), Tanya Domi (Human Rights Activist, Former Captain), Fredy H. Kaplan (Stonewall Democrats NYC), Marti Gould Cummings (Broadway Speaks OUT!), Joe Jervis (JoeMyGod.com),Waymon Hudson (Fight OUT Loud, Huffington Post Blogger), Stonewall Democrats NYC, Broadway Speaks OUT!, Fight OUT Loud, David Mixner (DavidMixner.com),Peter Yacobellis (Admin of Governor of NY, David Patterson), Gertrude Stein Democratic Club, Joe Mirabella (Same Sex Sundays, Huffington Post & Bilerico Blogger), Ronnie Kroell (www.RonnieKroell.com), Stephanie A. Jones (JD, LLM, MPH, Esquire), Stonewall Democrats of Southern Nevada Broadway Impact, GeekNerdWonk Charitable Foundation, Derek Washington (Chairman, Stonewall Democratic Club of Southern Nevada), Christin Meador (Founder,ProudAlly.org)

Speakers:
Sean Carlson, Aiyi’nah Ford, and Julia Mandes (Founders of The Big Commit)
Jay Carmona (GetEQUAL)
DC Council Member David Catania
Michael Crawford (Freedom To Marry)
Mayor Fenty (TBD)
Reggie and Rocky Galloway
Rayyan Ghuma (Full Equality Now! DC)
Jonathan Howard and Gregory Jones (Crate and Barrel contest)
Colin MacDonald (Full Equality Now! DC)
Nick McCoy (Human Rights Campaign)
DC Council Member Phil Mendelson
Will Phillips (Young Arkansas Ally) and his dad Jay Phillips
Jonquille SolSis Rice (Spoken Word Artist)
Sinjoyla Townsend and Angelisa Young

What: The Big Commit: Exchanging Vows with Equality - A Rally in Response to the Anti-Gay National Organization for Marriage

The Big Commit has forged a diverse coalition of LGBT community organizations, allies, and supportive faith leaders to address our continuing struggles and to celebrate our victories, both locally and nationally. We will celebrate and affirm families of ALL faiths and backgrounds, strengthen community ties, and recommit ourselves to equality for all.

When: Sunday, August 15, 2010; 2:00-4:00 p.m.

Where: Freedom Plaza; Pennsylvania Ave NW between 13th & 14th. Washington, DC 20004

For further information please visit www.bigcommit.org and

www.freedomtomarry.org/summer-for-marriage

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