Mark Your Calendars!
"VT For ALL Vermonters", a Montpelier grassroots organization, is sponsoring a rally on the Vermont Statehouse steps at 2:00 PM on Sunday, October 15. Organizers of the event want to raise public awareness about the wide diversity of support for the new civil unions law in Vermont, and to speak out against the harsh backlash of the "Take Back Vermont" movement. The theme of the rally is: "Promoting a Positive Future for Vermont."
Several prominent members of the Vermont community will be speaking at the event, including: Beth Robinson, the lawyer who represented the plaintiffs in Baker v. State; Senator Helen Riehle of Chittenden county; Senator Ben Ptashnik of Windsor county; and former state Representative Andrew Christiansen. Keith Goslant, the Governor's liason to the gay and lesbian community, will be the emcee, and he will read a message from Governor Howard Dean.
Other speakers include: Montpelier resident and high school student Molly Goldberg; international activist Paij Wadley; long-time civil rights activist Xenia Williams; Rev. Mitchell Hay of Montpelier; Ellen Kahler of the VT Peace and Justice Center; Joseph Gainza, the director of the VT office of the American Friends Service Committee; Judith Beckett, the Lesbian Rights Chair for the Nat'l Organization for Women; Institute for Social Ecology student Molly Van Avery; and several others.
Jessy Parker, an active member of VT For ALL Vermonters, says that she is concerned about the strong opposition to Vermont's new civil unions law. "We are working to counteract the fear and judgement represented by the Take Back Vermont movement," said Parker, a resident of Plainfield. She says that VT For ALL Vermonters organized in response to the many black-and-white Take Back Vermont signs now so common on Vermont's roadsides. "We felt that we should do something to show support for the new civil unions law, so now we hold vigils twice a week in Montpelier, and we've organized a major rally to spread the word that Vermont is for all Vermonters."
A parade through downtown Montpelier will immediately precede the rally at the Statehouse. The parade has been organized by several area high school students who want to demonstrate their support for civil unions and respect for diversity.
Bread and Puppet Domestic Resurrection Circus will be marching in the parade and performing at the rally. Several musicians, including Mimi Kates, Andre Seligny, Patti Garbeck, Robin MacEwan, and Julie Baker will also be performing at the event.
Dorothy Mammen, the coordinator for the VT Freedom To Marry Task Force, strongly endorsed the October 15th event. "It is wonderful to see such a strong grassroots effort supporting civil unions," she said. "It is important that Vermonters become aware of the wide diversity of support which exists for gay and lesbian couples in Vermont."