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UM Clergy Join Homosexual Leaders To Muster Unholy Army To Disrupt Christian Church


>From the New Visions Project in California...


PRESS RELEASE For immediate release

GAY RIGHTS LEADERS TO DISCUSS CIVIL AND RELIGIOUS DISOBEDIENCE Protest organizers hold public forum to share strategies, tactics for active resistance to homophobia

PALO ALTO, CA, March 7, 2001 - Three leaders of nationally-known gay rights organizations will convene on Tuesday March 13 for a public panel discussion titled "Dismantling Homophobia: The Growing Use of Nonviolent Resistance to Oppose Religious-backed Sexual Prejudice". The panel, to take place at 7:00 PM at First Presbyterian Church of Palo Alto (1140 Cowper St.), is the first public forum in the country to openly discuss how the methodologies of the U.S civil rights movement can be applied in the struggle for equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people.

Panel participants include Will Doherty of the Stop Dr. Laura campaign, a protest effort to pressure television networks and advertisers not to sponsor the Laura Schlessinger television show; Rev. Don Fado, lead organizer of the Sacramento sixty-eight, a group of United Methodist clergy who defied church policy in 1999 to conduct a same-sex holy union service for two lesbian women; and Greg Marlan, co-chair of the May 2000 Cleveland civil disobedience action by gay rights group Soulforce, an action at which 191 people were arrested protesting anti-gay discrimination in the United Methodist Church.

"The success of the Stop Dr. Laura campaign has shown that nonviolent protest is a viable method for challenging the rhetoric of homophobia," noted panelist Will Doherty. "I'm pleased to have this opportunity to discuss Stop Dr. Laura's approach to countering hate speech."

"As a United Methodist pastor, I come from a deep tradition, stretching back to the founding of Methodism itself, which calls for disobedience to unjust laws," commented Rev. Don Fado. "The growing number of pastors willing to put their religious ordinations on the line in their support of equality for lesbian and gay people shows that this tradition is alive and well in the United Methodist Church."

"In Soulforce, we ground ourselves in the theory and practice of nonviolent resistance as taught and used by Mohandas Gandhi and Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.," said panelist Greg Marlan. "As the title of the panel presentation suggests, this active, interventionist approach to social change is making a comeback."

The panel discussion begins at 7:00 PM on March 13 and is open to the public. A question-and-answer session will follow the speaker presentations.

The "Dismantling Homophobia" panel is part of the spring 2001 series "Homosexuality and Christian Faith: New Visions for the New Century", a 5-week series of events designed to examine, and seek alternatives to, Christianity's traditional support of discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people. The spring 2001 New Visions series is sponsored by 25 San Francisco Bay area churches from 11 religious denominations. Complete information about the series is available at the project's web site at www.newvisionsproject.org 

First Presbyterian Church 1140 Cowper St., Palo Alto, CA 408-732-1698

Media contacts: Bruce Hahne: 408-732-1698, hahne@netcom.com Vaughn Beckman: 408-297-2299, sjpc@sjpeace.org

Note to editors: Panelists are available for interviews in advance of the event. Please call the media contacts to make arrangements.

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