United For Marriage, a coalition of several leading LGBT organizations that worked together successfully to organize a two-day rally at the Supreme Court, is apologizing for several internal events that happened during the rally. HRC, the Human Rights Campaign — a part of the coalition that also includes the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force, Family Equality Council, GetEQUAL, Marriage Equality USA and the New Organizing Institute — signed on to a group apology, and then issued a separate statement denying the mistreatment occurred.
“Since the conclusion of the rallies on Wednesday, the coalition has learned about the mistreatment of a few individuals who were attending and speaking at the rallies,” United For Marriage’s statement notes:
In one case, a queer undocumented activist was asked to edit his speech to hide part of who he is. In another case, several activists were asked to lower the trans* pride flag in order to keep out of the scope of TV cameras.
We apologize for having caused harm to the individuals involved. Apologies are being made individually and collectively and we are working to make direct amends.
But HRC, which several parties state was actually the group that is at fault, as Matt Comer at Q Notes reports, issued a separate statement denying any wrongdoing — or even that the offensive mistreatment occurred.
Here’s a portion of HRC’s statement, via Q Notes:
“It was agreed that featuring American flags at our program was the best way to illustrate this unifying issue which is why when managing the area behind the podium, several people were asked to move who were carrying organizational banners, pride flags or any other flag that was not an American flag. Several people refused and they were allowed to stay. The coalition welcomed the variety of signs and flags that were throughout the plaza that demonstrated the wonderful diversity of our community.
“It is a not true to suggest that any person or organization was told their flag was less important than another – this did not occur and no HRC staff member would ever tolerate such behavior. To be clear, it is the position of the Human Rights Campaign that marriage is an issue that affects everyone in the LGBT community.
“The events at the Court featured lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender speakers as well as LGBT families, religious leaders, Republicans, military spouses and civil rights activists. This has been a historic week and truly demonstrated how all of us – lesbian, gay, bisexual and straight, transgender and cisgender – can unite as one voice to advocate for our constitutional rights.”
GetEQUAL also released a separate statement, including an impassioned essay from newly-appointed co-director Felipé Matos, which is an important read.
A group called QUIP posted this video to YouTube:
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