Hundreds march for gay rights in Savannah

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SAVANNAH, Ga.  -- Savannah resident Brahm Wilson said she had no problem showing her true colors in Johnson Square as she and hundreds of others gathered for the inaugural Queer Power March.

Supporters march into Ellis Square during Friday's Queer Power March through downtown Savannah.  Richard Burkhart/ Morris News Service
Richard Burkhart/ Morris News Service
Supporters march into Ellis Square during Friday's Queer Power March through downtown Savannah.

In 2004, Wilson said, she was discharged from the Marine Corps under "don't ask, don't tell" regulations.

Friday night was the perfect chance for her and others to speak out against the policy, which a federal judge in California ruled Thursday was unconstitutional.

"I think it's important to raise awareness of the unconstitutionality of it," she said. "It's definitely time for a change."

About 500 people joined Wilson in the march that threaded down Broughton Street to Franklin Square and ended in Ellis Square. They chanted slogans and cried for equality in the community and across the nation.

First City Network Vice President Jesse Morgan, armed with a bullhorn, led the charge of people who walked, bicycled and even rode in a vintage Ford calling for an end to the inequalities lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender members of the community see every day.

"We're here for Savannah's first-ever Queer Power March," Morgan said. "But more importantly, we're here to empower citizens."

Kevin Clark, of the Savannah Chapter of Georgia Equality, added there were a number of issues in which to raise awareness, especially on the eve of the gay-pride events scheduled through the weekend.

Clark noted the march was a chance to raise awareness about hate directed at gays, the need for Savannah city officials to allow benefits for domestic partners and "don't ask, don't tell."

"It's a multitude of issues we're bringing to the forefront," Clark said.

Thursday's condemnation of the U.S. military's ban on openly gay service members was quietly lauded by marchers as only a small step in the right direction.

Discharged Navy sailor Joe Anthony Rodriguez said he was traveling the country to represent The Sanctuary Project, which advocates rights for service members and veterans affected by the policy.

Rodriguez said he was raped, kidnapped, drugged and left for dead in San Diego last year. And a civilian hospital disclosed his sexual orientation to thousands of Navy sailors when he was seeking help for post traumatic stress disorder.

"I was discharged because I was a gay man," Rodriguez said.

He said the federal judge's decision was only a starting point.

"They can throw this into court for 17 years. We've got to keep pressure on the Senate and let them know that hey, this is your chance to repeal it by November," he said.

Marcher Robert Smith said he retired from the Army but spent a career with his lifestyle shrouded in secrecy.

"We all have our rights, but some people think we shouldn't," Smith said. "Just like me: I served in the military the whole time, and no one should have the right to tell us we can't do something or be a part of our society."

Wilson had just studied Thursday's news about the policy being overturned, but like Rodriguez, she said she was hesitant to believe it represented real change.

"We'll see if anything happens," she said. "I'm still skeptical."

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johnston.cliff
2
Points
johnston.cliff 09/11/10 - 12:35 pm
0
0
Wow, look at all of the words

Wow, look at all of the words in this article. And what is the "rights" these people want? The man (?) who was raped wanted what right that all Americans have? All of the people who were thrown out of the military wanted what right? The man that didn't insist on approval of his sexuality choice for the whole time of his military career didn't seem to miss any rights, but felt he should have some?
I'll admit I don't understand the point of this article or the complaints of any of the interviewees.
What are the rights that others have they these "people" don't ?

Taylor B
5
Points
Taylor B 09/11/10 - 01:05 pm
0
0
To serve in the military, to

To serve in the military, to see their partner in the hospital, tax deductions, to be on their partner's insurance policy... I could go on cliff...

augusta citizen
9948
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augusta citizen 10/19/12 - 03:43 pm
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..

..

Little Lamb
47950
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Little Lamb 09/11/10 - 01:49 pm
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The federal judge in

The federal judge in California will soon be overruled by a court that follows the law.

Little Lamb
47950
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Little Lamb 09/11/10 - 01:54 pm
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Taylor, I'm ashamed of you.

Taylor, I'm ashamed of you. The things you listed are not "rights" as understood by the signers of the Declaration of Independence. There is no "right" to a job – you have to meet the terms of the employer. There is no "right" to see anyone in a hospital. There is no "right" to a tax deduction – you have to meet the conditions of the deduction. There is no "right" to insert yourself into anyone else's health insurance policy – you have to meet the conditions of the policy. I could go on also.

johnston.cliff
2
Points
johnston.cliff 09/11/10 - 02:29 pm
0
0
Taylor B, while I'm sure you

Taylor B, while I'm sure you could go on, I'm just as sure you can't go on Cliff. (see avatar) Now, back to the subject, everything you listed is available to those who choose the gay life style as long as they meet the proper criteria for gaining these "rights". Everyone, gays, straights, etc (?) must meet exactly the same criteria. What are the DIFFERENT rights the gays feel they don't have? What is this parade for, beside a chance to meet new "partners" while celebrating the gay choice?

Little Lamb
47950
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Little Lamb 09/11/10 - 02:43 pm
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Back in the sixties, the

Back in the sixties, the Congress (backed by the Supreme Court) created what have caused to me named several "special protected classes." Those were sex, race, national origin. Governmental civil rights were not to be denied to anyone based on those special protected classes. Since the 1990s the militant homosexual lobby has been trying to get the Congress or the courts to name "sexual preference" a special protected class. So far, neither has been willing to do so.

As a libertarian, I do not believe in special protected classes. Neither do I believe that rights are to be granted or denied to groups of any kind. True civil "rights" are based upon the individual human and are to be denied to no one.

Let us move our thinking away from this notion that there should be special protected classes in our society.

johnston.cliff
2
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johnston.cliff 09/11/10 - 02:59 pm
0
0
Good post @ 3:43, Little

Good post @ 3:43, Little Lamb. The (hopefully) unintended insult of "protected" status too often leads to dependency and a crippling of the American society, as a result. It also leads to class envy and, as has been demonstrated by the "gay" movement, encourages "me-too-ism".

freeradical
1144
Points
freeradical 09/11/10 - 06:19 pm
0
0
They Lie. California enacted

They Lie.

California enacted virtually every right you care to name under civil union

legislation and it was not enough.

Given that I defy anyone to specify what "rights" we are talking about?

palmetto1007
0
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palmetto1007 09/11/10 - 06:53 pm
0
0
Good post, Little Lamb. I

Good post, Little Lamb. I agree no equal rights for women and blacks. That happened as a result of those crazy sixites (although women gained the right to vote in 1920...and that was a mess, too). We need to go back to to those times when men....WHITE men... held all the power and rights.

freeradical
1144
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freeradical 09/11/10 - 07:04 pm
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They also show their

They also show their ignorance.

Serving "in the military" has never been a "right".

Grow up , and quit whining about your life in relation to other people and

institutions.

palmetto1007
0
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palmetto1007 09/11/10 - 07:17 pm
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Yep, freeradical, just sit

Yep, freeradical, just sit back and take the fact that some people will have rights and some will not. It's the American way!!!

FedupwithAUG
0
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FedupwithAUG 09/12/10 - 11:57 am
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Some of these comments tell

Some of these comments tell the level of education level that Richmond county schools puts out. Dumb people.

FedupwithAUG
0
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FedupwithAUG 09/12/10 - 11:50 am
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I agree little lamb, there

I agree little lamb, there shouldn't be "special protected classes" either. I'm tired of the handicap people in wheel chairs complaining about no ramps to public offices. We should put stairways up to all of them so they can't have access to pay their bills. They can just live on the streets. Yea, that will teach them.

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