May 9, 2016 at 7:59 am EST | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Philadelphia to honor LGBT march on Washington
LGBT 50th, gay news, Washington Blade, Historic Marker

Malcolm Lazin, executive director of the Equality Forum, said the organization will fund the marker. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The Philadelphia City Council voted unanimously on April 14 to approve the installation of a City Historic Marker in front of the city’s Quaker Meeting House to commemorate its role in hosting a conference to plan the first national LGBT rights march on Washington in 1979.

A two-page resolution approved by the Philadelphia Council says the Quakers “uniquely and courageously offered the Friends Meeting House Conference Center” as the location for the conference.

“[A]pproximiately 300 activists from across the nation gathered for the Philadelphia Conference and laid the framework for a National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights,” the resolution says. The conference was held Feb. 23-25, 1979.

The resolution says “approximately 100,000 demonstrators assembled on the National Mall” on Oct. 14, 1979 and that the march “helped launch a national civil rights movement for lesbian and gay equality.”

According to the resolution, the 1979 march “led to LGBT marches on the National Mall in 1987, 1993, and 2000” and that the 1979 conference at the Philadelphia Quaker’s Meeting House was “a seminal and historic event for LGBT equality.”

The resolution calls on the city to install the historic marker during the Democratic National Convention, which is scheduled to be held in Philadelphia July 25-28 and for which more than 400 LGBT activists from every state are expected to attend.

Malcolm Lazin, executive director of the Philadelphia based Equality Forum, which organizes an annual LGBT rights conference, said the organization will fund the marker.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

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