Gay Activists Huddle to Plan Future

Thu. November 11, 2004 12:00 AM by

St Louis, Missouri - LGBT civil rights activists began a five day conference Wednesday in St. Louis, the first major gay rights meeting since last Tuesdays election, with more questions than answers.

The Creating Change conference, sponsored by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, drew about 2,000 participants from throughout the country.

As delegates began to register it was clear the gay rights movement is still in a state of shock from the election, which not only saw the reelection of President Bush and GOP control of the House and Senate increased, but also 11 states which endorsed constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage.

"Our movement needs to regroup and buckle down," said Sue Hyde of Cambridge, Mass. "There's a lot to figure out."

"[It's hard when] the vast majority of citizens in your state not only do not understand you but take hostile steps to change the constitution to take away rights we never even had," said NGLTF executive director Matt Foreman.

"There's no way you can put lipstick on that pig," he said.

Both Foreman and Hyde agreed that the gay civil rights movement cannot retreat from working for social and legal rights.

"We have to engage our neighbors and co-workers in a deep conversation about our humanity, and the need to be able to take care of our families," Hyde said.
Foreman said that the state constitutional amendments will be interpreted very broadly and end up the Bush administration to make a renewed push for a U.S. constitutional ban on gay marriage as payback for the strong anti-gay marriage voter turnout by evangelical Christians.

© 2004

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