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Scouting For All's national days of action

Despite dire weather forecasts of "100% chance of rain" some 70 activists turned out at Chicago's first participation in Scouting For All's national days of action to protest the anti-Gay and anti-atheist policy of the Boy
Scouts of America. The rally was held at the founding site for the Scouts in the U.S. (copy from CABN news release)
Despite dire weather forecasts of "100% chance of rain" with "frequent downpours" which turned into a tornado in a western suburb, some 70 activists turned out at Chicago's first participation in Scouting For All's national days of action to protest the anti-Gay and anti-atheist policy of the Boy Scouts of America. The rally was held at the founding site for the Scouts in the U.S. Supporters of the rally sponsored by the Chicago Anti-Bashing Network (CABN) included representatives from the Parents and Friends of
Lesbians and Gays, the Chicago Gender Society, Edgewater Uptown Greens, Sangat, and the Japanese American Service League.

A particular focus of the rally was the Chicago United Way's continued funding of the Chicago Scouts despite several meetings and phone conversations with CABN and other Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered groups. Speakers denounced the $424,000 the United Way pledged to give the Scouts in the fiscal year beginning July 1st and urged members of the public to cease payroll deductions to the United Way until they dump Scouts funding, as so many other United Ways around the country already have done.

Another focus of the rally was how the Scouts and their supporters in the Catholic and Mormon churches couch their bigotry in the mantel of "religious freedom," much as segregationists did a generation before them. "The anti-Gay
and anti-atheist bigotry of the Scouts' leadership, and that of the religions they front for, is not only wrong, but it leads to violence against our people," said CABN's Bob Schwartz, coordinator of the protest. "We're not
going to stand for it."

"Many counsel that we meet the Scouts part way on the issue. But we say there should be no compromise with hate," said Andy Thayer, co-founder of CABN. "For our own self respect, for our own humanity, we should never accept
second class membership in this or any other organization. We either have true equality with non-Gay people, or we don't - no if's, and's or but's."

Other rally speakers included: Rich Halperin, Regional Council Coordinator for Parents and Friends of Lesbians And Gays (PFLAG); Donna Blaha of Glenview PFLAG; Lori Fox, a former Scout, transgendered woman, and member of Chicago
Gender Society; Mark Armantrout, a member of both the Edgewater-Uptown Greens and the Lavender Greens; and Jen Chapin Harris and Aaron Adair of CABN. Press coverage included Chicago's Fox News affiliate and Chicagoland Television News, our local all-news cable TV station.

CABN's next big event is our annual "March Against Anti-Gay Hate" on the third anniversary of the lynching of Matthew Shepard in Wyoming. This year's event will start at 8 p.m., Saturday, October 6 at the corner of Halsted and
Roscoe in the heart of Chicago's gay community. It will feature a march to the local headquarters of the Salvation Army, authors of a recent secret memo to the Bush administration urging the voiding of LGBT employment protections for institutions such as itself.

For more information please call CABN at 773.878.3697 or 888.471.0874 (toll-free voice mail). Pictures of the rally are available for use by media personnel or on the web. To receive these royalty-free jpg photos, please send an e-mail with the subject heading "Send 8/25/01 Photos" to
CABNstopthehate (at) aol.com. Photos with captions will be sent out the evening your request is received.
 
 

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