Have you noticed something missing along the Avenue of the Arts? About this time every year, there are rainbow flags waving down Broad Street announcing the Equality Forum, which usually takes place over a long weekend in Philadelphia in early-May. There are no flags this year, however, and that’s because there won’t be an Equality Forum in 2015.
A contingent of Philadelphia LGBT advocates and business leaders attended a press conference this afternoon to announce their official endorsement for openly gay City Council At-Large candidate Paul Steinke.
Among the most notable endorsers was State Representative Brian Sims, who told the crowd that Steinke “has devoted his entire career to making Philadelphia a better city in which to live, work, play and visit. His proven leadership has produced real results, whether it’s from his time at University City District, Center City District, or the Reading Terminal Market. Philadelphians need results-focused leaders like Paul to address the enormous challenges they face.”
A lot of folks may not know this, but the nation’s first LGBT protests happened right here in our City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection. The occasion is considered by many to be the birth of the LGBT civil rights movement.
It all started on the Fourth of July in 1965 when LGBT leaders Barbara Gittings and Washington’s Frank Kameny marched in front of Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell shouting calls of equality for LGBT people. The protests, nicknamed “Annual Reminders,” continued every Fourth of July until 1969.
Pretty cool, huh?
City leaders certainly think so. They think it’s so cool, in fact, that Mayor Nutter and Equality Forum are teaming up to put together a four-day celebration to mark the 50th anniversary of the first Reminder, which will kickoff on July 2, 2015 and continue through the 5th. Plans for the festivities were unveiled at a press conference yesterday, attended by Mayor Nutter, Equality Forum Executive Director Malcolm Lazin, members of the Philadelphia and Los Angeles Gay Men’s Choruses, among others.
Tomorrow, at the U.S. Courthouse on Market Street, United States District Judge Mary McLaughlin will hear oral arguments in the case of Palladino v. Corbett. The federal suit, filed in September 2013, declares that the Pennsylvania statute banning the recognition of out-of-state same-sex marriages is unconstitutional.
Whether you’re a fan of the Equality Forum or not (and some people really aren’t), yesterday’s closing party, SundayOUT at the Piazza, brought out lots of shining LGBT faces for an afternoon of performance by DJ Cassidy and the Fuego Dance Company, and, of course, lots of gay revelry. HughE Dillon shares some shots from the NoLibs bash below.
The 2014 Equality Forum got official kickoff treatment last night at a VIP reception on the 33rd floor of the Loews Philadelphia Hotel. Equality Forum Executive Director Malcolm Lazin got things started with a toast to this years featured nation, Canada, who he explained is celebrating 10 years of marriage equality this year. (Lucky Canucks!) The rest of the evening was about mingling, drinking a delicious blue cocktail (the official World Pride Cocktail from Canada, thank you), and enjoying the views of Philly. See some of the photos we snapped below.
The Equality Forum kicks into high gear today, starting with the National Politics Panel at 5:30 p.m., and an after-work [blue?] cocktail gathering at Woody’s and Rosewood from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.. See the itinerary for the rest of the weekend’s scheduled events, including the raging SundayOUT at the Piazza here.
Equality Forum 2014 launched this week, unveiling what activities to expect during this year’s week of events (May 1st to May 4th), and who’s being honored at the ritzy International Equality Dinner on May 3rd. Here’s the deal:
Panels: Equality Forum 2014 will include a National Politics Panel, National Religious Colloquy, International Workplace Panel, National Legal Panel, and Featured Nation Panel, which is TBD.
Featured Nation: Canada gets the prize for featured nation this year, honoring the country’s 10th year of marriage equality. “It is an opportunity to learn from same-sex marriage experience of our nation’s closest ally,” says Equality Forum Executive Director Malcolm Lazin.
Honorees: This years honorees includes PA Attorney General Kathleen Kane will receive the Distinguished Equality Award for her refusal to defend Pennsylvania’s ban on gay marriage; the National Hockey League (NHL) and the Burke family will receive the International Role Model Award for instituting the You Can Play Project, an initiative to make the NHL more inclusive for LGBT players; and TD Bank gets the International Business Leadership Award. Awards will be given out at the International Equality Dinner on May 4th at the National Museum of American Jewish History. Get tickets here.
SundayOUT: returns to the Piazza on May 4th.
The Equality Forum takes place May 1st to May 4th. More information here.
The Equality Forum is taking advantage of Valentine’s Day this year to raise awareness and funds around an issue that’s particularly paramount to Executive Director Malcolm Lazin: marriage recognition.
The local LGBT civil rights organization is throwing a Valentine’s Day Ball in support of Palladino v. Corbett, a federal lawsuit initiated by the Equality Forum that asks the state of Pennsylvania to recognize same-sex marriages that were performed in marriage equality states.