The Gay March to the Supreme Court: The Exhibition "'Speaking out for Equality' Will Be the Centerpiece of 'Reminder 2015: Celebrating 50 Years of LGBT History, Art, and Culture.'"

USA TODAY, May 2015 | Go to article overview

The Gay March to the Supreme Court: The Exhibition "'Speaking out for Equality' Will Be the Centerpiece of 'Reminder 2015: Celebrating 50 Years of LGBT History, Art, and Culture.'"


PLANNED TO COINCIDE with Gay Pride Month in June and the 50th anniversary the first in a series gay rights marches, which took place on the Fourth of July on Independence Mall in Philadelphia, Pa, the William Way LGBT Community Center will present "Speaking Out for Equality: The Constitution, Gay Rights, and the Supreme Court," an exhibition at the National Constitution Center. The exhibit utilizes pivotal court cases, artifacts, and personal stories to chronicle the decades-long debate over gay rights, a debate that ultimately brought issues of LGBT equality before the Supreme Court.

"On July 4, 1965, LGBT activists picketed for justice in front of Philadelphia's Independence Hall. Clad in suits and dresses to appear 'normal,' they carried posters that demanded equality for gays and lesbians in a society that treated them as criminals and deviants," says Chris Bartlett, executive director of the LGBT Community Center. "The public demonstrations, which were called Annual Reminder protests and would last until 1969, were sparked by one person's failed effort to bring a discrimination case before the Supreme Court. They would become the first sustained national effort to focus attention on the discrimination faced by gay people and became a catalyst for LGBT Americans to organize for equality."

"Speaking Out for Equality" will be the centerpiece of "Reminder 2015: Celebrating 50 Years of LGBT History, Art, and Culture," a series of anniversary events. There will be programs at Philadelphia's African American Museum; Free Library; Historical Society of Pennsylvania; Independence Visitor Center; and National Museum of American Jewish History. A reenactment of the original Annual Reminder demonstration in front of Independence Hall will be held on July 4.

"This exhibit is historic in many respects," notes Bartlett. "It is the first time that LGBT history, viewed through a Constitutional frame, is being explored at a national museum. It's also historic given the time frame of the American LGBT civil rights debate: with a major LGBT civil rights case to be handed down by the United States Supreme Court while the exhibit is open in June.

"For July 4, Independence Mall will be ringed with a major LGBT civil rights exhibition and partner exhibits at other institutions on the mall. LGBT history is truly coming of age."

"We are pleased to participate in Reminder 2015.... As the Museum of We the People, we continue to serve as a center of exhibits and materials on the history and contemporary significance of the Constitution," says Vince Stango, chief operating officer of Philadelphia's National Constitution Center. "The exhibition will inform about pivotal Supreme Court cases in the fight for gay rights and create a platform for discussion about the First Amendment, Fifth Amendment, and Fourteenth Amendment. …

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