October 11th, 2009
08:28 PM ET
12 years ago

'Obama, I know you are listening': Gay activists march to Capitol

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/US/10/11/U.S.gay.rights.rally/art.gay.rights.rally.cnn.jpg caption="Sunday's National Equality March in Washington coincided with National Coming Out Day."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Judy Shepard stood before a massive crowd at the Capitol on Sunday for a single, painful reason.

"I'm here today because I lost my son to hate."

Her gay son, Matthew Shepard, was kidnapped and severely beaten in October 1998. He died five days later in a hospital.

More than 10 years later, Judy Shepard addressed the thousands of gay rights activists in Washington who wrapped up Sunday's National Equality March with a rousing rally at the Capitol.

"No one has the right to tell my son whether or not he can work anywhere. Whether or not he can live wherever he wants to live and whether or not he can be with the one person he loves - no one has that right," Judy Shepard told the crowd. "We are all Americans. We are all equal Americans, gay, straight or whatever."

The activists marched through Washington, calling for an end to the "don't ask, don't tell" policy and equality in marriage.

The National Equality March coincided with National Coming Out Day, and came a day after President Obama delivered a supportive speech to the nation's largest gay and lesbian rights group.

Obama was praised for his remarks to the Human Rights Campaign, where he said he has urged congress to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and to pass the Domestic Partners Benefit and Obligations Act. But Obama has also been criticized by gay rights activists who say he has put those issues - and the Pentagon's "don't ask, don't tell" policy, which bans homosexuals from openly serving in the military - on the back burner.

"Obama, I know you are listening," pop star Lady Gaga told the crowd, before shouting, "Are you listening? We will continue to push you and your administration to bring your words of promise to a reality."

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soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. nate

    that's why most people watch fox news...They're the only ones who will stand up against what's happening. Their ratings will just go up from this.

    October 11, 2009 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  2. Wise Latina

    This "massive" crowd of perverts was ORDERS of magnitude less than the Sept 12th rally, which the state-controlled media would lead you to believe was only "tens of thousands", when the British press reported that it was well over a million.

    Obama's reign will thankfully be a short one, ala the other wholly undeserving Nobel Peace surPrize winner Jimmah Cahtah.

    October 12, 2009 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  3. Nea

    The Gay community should know that President Obama donot have to bow down to them just because they wants things done there way. Yes i agree they should be treated the same no matter what there lifestyle is, Except when it comes to marriage thats off limits a marriage is and always should be define between a man and a woman. I feel everyone have right to freedom of speech but they really need JESUS plain and simple.

    October 12, 2009 12:43 am at 12:43 am |
  4. Jose

    My heart goes out to those who have lost a loved one because of a hate crime. It's time for change. Open your heart America.
    Equality for all.

    October 12, 2009 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  5. Ryan

    If you were born in the U.S. And pay taxes...you deserve equal rights.

    If you disagree with equality, then you are not a true American and should be ashamed of yourself and you're moronic sense of reasoning otherwise.

    October 12, 2009 01:06 am at 1:06 am |
  6. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender/OtherwiseSexed think they are the "civil rights issue of the decade" but their obsession with parading their "otherness" is and should be rather low on a list of America's priorities. Take a civil union, a power of attorney and a Living Will and you're got your rights. We have much more important issues. See The One in late 2012 when he has no political capital and is facing the end of his only term.

    October 12, 2009 01:13 am at 1:13 am |