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Recently Frocked Gay Bishop Joins Defrocked Lesbian UM Pastor In Interfaith Rally To Homosexualize Christianity

National Celebration to Include Interfaith Service; Bishop Gene Robinson Will Deliver Sermon at Historic Christ Church Philadelphia March 14, 2005

National Celebration of the 40th Anniversary of the GLBT Civil Rights Movement on Sunday, May 1 at Independence Hall will include an Interfaith Service with a sermon by Bishop Gene Robinson, Equality Forum announced today. Other participating religious leaders include the Rev. Beth Stroud; Sister Jeannine Gramick; the Rev. Robert Wood, a Gay Pioneer from the first Gay and Lesbian Civil Rights demonstration in 1965; and the Rev. Steven Baines, Senior Organizer for Religious Affairs at People for the American Way. The Lavender Light Gospel Chorus will perform.

"The Interfaith Service is an important part of the National Celebration," said Malcolm Lazin, Executive Director of Equality Forum. "It reminds America of the growing number of denominations that embrace gays and lesbians as congregants and clergy. It is encouraging that congregations are increasingly offering religious blessings for same-sex unions," Lazin added.

The Interfaith Service is set for Sunday, May 1 from 4 to 5 p.m. at historic Christ Church Philadelphia. Christ Church, located at 2nd and Market Streets, was established in 1695. George and Martha Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Betsy Ross are among the early American patriots who worshipped there.

The Rev. Stroud was recently defrocked by the United Methodist Church for discussing her relationship with her partner. The Vatican tried to silence Sister Gramick for ministering to gays and lesbians. She was the subject of the film 'In Good Conscience'.

Equality Forum 2005 features over 70 programs, parties and special events. More than 105 local and national non-profit organizations and 28 national and international GLBT Executive Directors will be participating. Thirty-two states and the District of Columbia will hold State Receptions on Saturday, April 30.

The Interfaith Service is part of the National Celebration's 16 hours of programs on Sunday, May 1, which include film screenings, a Gay Icons Pavilion at Independence Visitors Center, the National Celebration Concert, celebrity appearances, Conversations with Gay Leaders at the National Constitution Center, entertainment, and a street festival. There will be three parties, including one at the Real World Philadelphia House.

Equality Forum 2005 & National Celebration includes four additional programs related to religion:

-- 8th Annual National Religious Colloquy: 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 27 at the Prince Theater

-- When Worlds Collide: A Muslim Lesbian Speaks Out: 8 p.m. Friday, April 29 at Congregation Beth Ahavah

-- In the Spirit: Saturday, April 30 at Temple University Center City. Presented by the Episcopal Coalition for Gay & Lesbian Outreach.

-- Gay Marriage Discussion: Saturday, April 30 at Temple University Center City. Presented by Imago Dei MCC and Evangelicals Concerned.

There is no registration fee for Equality Forum 2005 and all substantive events including the National Celebration are free.

For more information, visit http://www.equalityforum.com or contact Dan Wagner, Communications Associate at dan@equalityforum.com or 215- 732-3378 ext. 10.

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