Via NY Transfer News Collective All the News that Doesn't Fit SEATTLE MARCH FOR LESBIAN, G

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Via NY Transfer News Collective * All the News that Doesn't Fit SEATTLE MARCH FOR LESBIAN, GAY RIGHTS By Kaz Susat Seattle From the top of Broadway in the heart of Seattle's gay Capitol Hill community through the canyons downtown close to 3,000 lesbian, gay, bi and transgendered people and their supporters marched May 14. Led by youths from Lambert House, the marchers demanded equality, an end to discrimination and a "NO!" to right-wing hate initiatives 608 and 610. Following the march the demonstrators rallied at Steinbrueck Park. The Washington offshoot of the anti-gay Oregon Citizen's Alliance is trying through Initiative 610 to legalize discrimination against gay people, mandate schools to teach bigotry and deny legal name or gender changes for transgendered people. A group out of the reactionary Washington Public Affairs Council sponsored Initiative 608, which seeks to outlaw civil rights protection based on "homosexuality, bisexuality, transsexuality and transvestism." It also denies child custody rights of lesbian, gay or transgendered parents. Fire in progressive Black church Among those marching and speaking on May 14 was Rev. Dr. Robert Jeffery of the New Hope Baptist Church, a leading activist church in Seattle's African American community. During the march, a racist thug threatened Dr. Jeffery. Two days later, on May 16, the New Hope Baptist Church burned and was entirely gutted. Though the Fire Department quickly ruled faulty wiring caused the fire, suspicions remained. The church had been vandalized before in what many church members believe was retaliation for the church's progressive stands. At a vigil the night of May 16 in the parking lot of the burned-out church, Jeffery said, "They have ruled this fire was an accident. All right, we will call it an accident. But we will keep track of these accidents. Every window that gets accidentally busted. Every accidental fire." Jeffery went on to deliver a strong message against the anti-gay campaign and for solidarity of all the oppressed. On May 12, the Washington State Supreme Court refused to hear a case striking Initiatives 608 and 610 from the initiative process. The court said it will only rule on their unconstitutionality after the November elections. Protesters believe that much damage will already be done by then. "The people of this city and this state hate discrimination," said march organizer Mike McNamera. "We have every confidence that these people will be the ones to stop the right-wing initiatives." -30- (Copyright Workers World Service: Permission to reprint granted if source is cited. For more information contact Workers World, 55 W. 17 St., NY, NY 10011; via e-mail: ww%transfr@blythe.org.)

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