THE 1987 MARCH ON WASHINGTON
Explanation: The demands of the marchers come from brochures and pamphlets printed either by the national march office or its local committees. Actual demands are in bold print; underneath are quotes taken from an eight-page official statement, which elaborates on the demands.
1. The legal recognition of lesbian and gay relationships.
“Changes must be made in the courts and in the legislatures to provide homosexual couples the same privileges and benefits as heterosexuals who commit themselves to similar relationships. Changes must also be made in public opinion so that society recognizes and celebrates the diversity in family relationships.”
The changes sought: rights of inheritance, visitation and custody rights, insurance rights, parenting and adoption rights. Also listed under this demand is a call for “social services for lesbian and gay youth [to] be greatly augmented.” The March on Washington’s steering committee demands that government-funded alternative housing, foster care, counseling, and legal aid be provided for homosexual youth.
In addition, the statement calls for increased “availability of safe sex information and health care services for lesbian and gay youth, sexuality and anti-homophobic curriculum in the schools, access to lesbian and gay publications in public and school libraries, and freedom to participate in related school activities.”
2. The repeal of all laws that make sodomy between consenting adults a crime.
“Like Jim Crow laws of the American South which sanctioned and promoted racism, sodomy laws give the government’s stamp of approval to individual people’s hatred of lesbian and gay people. To single out lesbian and gay people for special prosecutorial attention stigmatizes all who are gay and lesbian whether or not they are ever arrested or charged with sodomy.”
3. A Presidential order banning anti-gay discrimination by the Federal Government.
This refers to an Executive Order banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in federal employment, the military, federally-contracted private employment, and all federally-funded programs. “Eliminating employment discrimination based solely on sexual orientation in the government sector would send a signal to the rest of the country that this discrimination is immoral and should be illegal.”
4. Passage of the Congressional lesbian and gay civil rights bill.
“The government should provide protection from discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment, public accommodations and education just as protection is provided on race, creed, color, sex, or national origin.”
“The government should ensure all public education programs include programs designed to combat lesbian/gay prejudice … Institutions that discriminate against lesbian and gay people should be denied tax exempt status and federal funding.
5. An end to discrimination against people with AIDS, ARC, HIV positive status, or those perceived to have AIDS.
Massive increases in funding for AIDS education, research and patient care. Money for AIDS, not for war. They demand that the Federal government fund “a massive AIDS education and prevention program that is explicit, culturally sensitive, lesbian and gay affirming and sex positive … The government must provide safe sex education to all youth.”
“Compassionate, comprehensive health care services must be available for patients without regard to ability to pay … There must be a complete federal funding of all health and social services for all people with AIDS/ARC … The federal government must underwrite and insure all research for a cure and a vaccine. Funding for these programs must come from the military budget, not already existing appropriations in the social services budget.”
6. Reproductive freedom, the right to control our own bodies, and an end to sexist oppression.
“All people must have access to birth control … Those who wish must have the right to artificial insemination by donor. Public and private institutions should support parenting by lesbian or gay couples … All people must have access to free abortions and contraceptives on demand regardless of age.” The march also called for passage of the Equal Rights Amendment.
7. An end to racism in this country and apartheid in South Africa.
“As members of the lesbian and gay movement, we too are affected by rising racism and sexism which oppresses People of Color and women; thereby the liberation of lesbians and gay is intricately linked to the struggle against racism, sexism and anti-Semitism. We realize that none of us are free until we are all free. We, therefore, call upon all of our sisters and brothers to actively confront racism and sexism on all levels both within our movement, and in the larger society. We demand an end to racist and sexist oppression. We demand an end to all social, economic, judicial and legal oppression of lesbians and gays, and people of every race, gender, class, ethnicity, faith, political ideology, transgenderal orientation and sexual orientation.”