Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
May 1, 2000

CONTACT:
Jubi Headley
(202) 293-7330

Conference President Featured Speaker at Millennium March for Gay and Lesbian Rights

Washington, D.C. --Mayor Wellington E. Webb was a featured speaker at the Millennium March on Washington on Sunday, April 30, 2000. Various sources place crowd estimates from 200,000 to 800,000 people, who converged on the nation's capital to bring attention to issues that are important to the gay and lesbian community. Those issues included calls for the passage of hates crimes and employment non-discrimination legislation, changing the military's "don't ask/don't tell" policy, and granting gays and lesbians the legal right to marry.

"You should talk to those people who want to occupy the public housing on 16th and Pennsylvania because whoever occupies that public housing at 16th and Pennsylvania has got to have the ability to work with all people, regardless of their race, their creed, their sex orientation, their height, their weight, their size," Webb told the cheering crowd.

Openly gay Tempe Mayor Neil Giuliano introduced Mayor Webb as a 'great champion of civil rights.' Mayor Webb joined a star-studded roster of speakers, including several openly gay celebrities: Ellen DeGeneres, the actress/comedian, and her partner, actress Ann Heche; singer Melissa Etheridge; and tennis great Martina Navratilova. In addition previously recorded video messages from both President Clinton and Vice President Gore were shown.

Mayor Wellington Webb's record of support or gay and lesbian rights dates back to 1975, when he tried to get the Colorado Legislature to bar discrimination in housing and employment on the basis of sexual orientation.

"It is important that you get energized today, but...you have to go home and fight to make sure that you have equal citizenship," he said.

The United States Conference of Mayors has long supported granting the protection of federal hate crimes laws to all citizens, including lesbian and gay communities, and adopted its first resolution calling for increased vigilance in preventing hate crimes in 1991, citing statistics compiled by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. Subsequent hates crimes resolutions were adopted by the Conference in 1992 and 1994, designed to strengthen protections for all communities.

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