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    Posted October 16, 2009

< return to 2009 archives

National Equality March

AEA Supports Marriage Equality
The National Council of Actors' Equity Association, meeting on May 19, 2009, unanimously adopted two resolutions supporting Marriage Equality for All Americans. AEA has a long history of commitment to human rights for all people.
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Over 200,000 people converged on Washington, DC on October 11, 2009 for a National Equality March. Organized by Equality Across America, the demonstrators came together to demand equal rights and protections under the law across all 50 states for the LGBT community. Among other issues, they are calling for the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (which prohibits homosexual and bisexual persons from discussing their orientation while in the Armed Forces under threat of discharge) and The Defense of Marriage Act (which does not recognize same-sex marriage as a legal union).

The March culminated in a rally on Capitol Hill, where speakers included Activist and Lead Organizer Cleve Jones, NAACP Chairman Julian Bond, NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Equity Member Cynthia Nixon. The Broadway cast of HAIR performed a powerful rendition of “Let the Sunshine In” during the rally.

Our industry was well represented in DC. Led by Staff Jenifer Hills and Jessica Palermo, a group of AEA employees and local members marched with the Equity banner alongside SAG. There were many more Equity members who rallied with other participating groups along the route. In her speech, Ms. Nixon acknowledged and credited the theater presence at the March, explaining that she came down from Manhattan with 1,400 members of the New York Theater community. That initiative was made possible by Broadway Impact, the “community of actors, directors, stage managers, fans, producers — pretty much anyone who has ever seen, been in or worked on a Broadway show — united by the simple belief that anyone who wants to should be able to get married”. Broadway Impact organized sponsorships to pay for 25 buses from NYC to DC. Sponsors included the casts of HAIR, MEMPHIS and BILLY ELLIOT, and Equity members Gavin Creel, Audra McDonald, Sutton Foster, BD Wong, Jonathan Groff and Neil Patrick Harris.

As mentioned in the June 2009 Equity News, AEA has taken a public position in support of national legislation to guarantee equal rights, including Marriage Equality for all. AEA will continue to participate in initiatives that aim to provide equality and protection to the LGBT community.

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