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Over 3100 March On
'Ex-Gay' Newspaper Ad Sponsors

Ft. Lauderdale Area's
Coral Ridge Ministries is Targeted

'March for Truth'
Blasts the Folger / Kennedy Hate Campaign

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Compiled by Badpuppy's GayToday
From Gays United to Attack Repression & Discrimination Over 3,100 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, their families and friends, took part August 22 in a "March for Truth" against Coral Ridge Ministries.

Organized by Gays United to Attack Repression and Discrmination (GUARD), the marchers responded to a series of antigay ads that Coral Ridge Ministries and other extremist organizations have placed in major newspapers during the past few weeks.

"The March was a resounding success," said J. Anthony "Tony" Ramos, President of GUARD. "The official count was 3143."

For the first time in years, the entire spectrum that is South Florida's gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community gathered in unison. Leather men marched alongside MCC lesbians; and muscle boys trotted along lesbian couples with their children. Heterosexual parents, families and friends walked proudly with their lesbian and gay children, siblings, parents and pals.

revkenn.jpg - 2.64 K Rev. Kennedy Even the political spectrum was bridged, as lesbian and gay Republicans, Democrats, Greens, Socialists and Independents came together. Men and women who wouldn't be caught dead at a meeting braved the hot summer sun to say "no" to Rev. D. James Kennedy, Janet Folger, and Coral Ridge Ministries.

"This is not the first time that Coral Ridge Ministries has waged war against gay people under the guise of 'Christian love,'" said Ramos, referring to Coral Ridge's series of antigay newspaper ads.

"We call this a 'March for Truth,' because we seek to counteract Coral Ridge's lies. Their ads play on peoples' insecurities about homosexuality for political and monetary gain. They perpetuate myths and falsehoods about gays and lesbians and foster bigotry and violence against lesbian and gay people," said Ramos.

Unrepentant, Rev. Kennedy held a press conference inside the church, where he paraded his flock of "cured" homosexuals. "It is not about hate. It is about hope," said Kennedy, who is considering buying more ad space.

In its newspaper ads, Coral Ridge Ministries speaks of "Christian love" for the homosexual. In her remarks, Rev. Nelson asked Rev. Kennedy and Ms. Folger to open their hearts to true "Christ-like" understanding and compassion. "We love you, I love you and we are Children of God. There is no difference other than your lack of understanding of who and what we are."

In response to Kennedy's message, which serves intolerance and hate in the guise of love and hope, the marchers proposed a message of freedom, community and love. "We have every moral and political right to equally offer our deep concern," noted GUARD's president.

Following the two-hour demonstration in front of Coral Ridge Ministries, participants attended a rally with speeches by Ramos, Rabbi Greg Kanter of Congregation Etz Chaim, Carole Benowitz of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians And Gays (PFLAG) and the Rev. Jill Nelson of Grace Church. Thanks to the Fort Lauderdale Police Department and GUARD volunteers, both the march and the rally took place without ugly incidents. march825b.jpg - 34.47 K Rabbi Greg Kanter

Both GUARD'S Ramos, and Karl Clark, founder of the Dolphin Democratic Club, called for a return to the politics of addressing issues of national survival. "We must not engulf political urgency in the politics of religion which is seemingly superseding the most crucial matters facing our nation and the world today. This skewed agenda, which religious zealots proclaim in the name of 'Reclaiming America for Christ,' emulates intolerance, distrust, and a lack of credibility and accountability."

Some marchers arrived earlier than anticipated, while others left sooner than expected because of the of heat; but all shared the warmth and appreciation echoed over and over again for the organizers, the 45+ participating organizations and the cooperation of the Ft. Lauderdale Police Department and its staff.

A coalition of 50-some businesses and organizations took part in the "March for Truth". Among them were Adult Video Warehouse; AGALLA!; Alliance of Christian Churches; American Federation of Veterans; Art Frenzie; Atlantic Coast Democratic Club; Black and White Men Together (BWMT); Broward Log Cabin Club; Catalog X; Celebrate: The Gay & Lesbian News-weekly; Club Fort Lauderdale; Compass; Congregation Etz Chaim; Copa Night Club; Dade Action PAC; David Magazine; Dignity; Dolphin Democratic Club; Equality Florida; Florida National Organization for Women (NOW); Front Runners; Gay & Lesbian Community Center of Greater Fort Lauderdale; Georgie's Alibi; Grace Institute; HotSpots! Magazine; Integrity of Key West; Key West Business Guild; Key West Pride Alliance; Lambda Democrats of Key West; Licks Ice Cream; Miami-Dade NOW; National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF); The Omni; Palm Beach Pride; PFLAG Broward; People for the American Way; People With AIDS Coalition (PWAC); PFLAG South East Region; Political Advocacy Coalition PAC; Pride Alliance; Pride South Florida; Royal Palms Resort; Saber M.C.; The Saint; Scoop Magazine; South Palm Beach County NOW; Stonewall Library and Archives; Tridents International South Florida; TWN (The Weekly News); and the Whimsy.

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