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Gay Rights Exhibition On View at National Constitution Center, Philadelphia

4684_93997992492_1886389_nPlanned to coincide with Gay Pride Month in June and the 50th anniversary of the first in a series gay rights marches, which took place on the Fourth of July on Independence Mall in Philadelphia, the William Way LGBT Community Center presents “Speaking Out for Equality: The Constitution, Gay Rights, and the Supreme Court.”

The new exhibition at the National Constitution Center, Independence Mall, Philadelphia will continue through Labor Day, Monday, September 5th.

“Speaking Out for Equality” uses pivotal court cases, artifacts and personal stories to chronicle the decades long debate over gay rights, a debate that has ultimately brought issues of LGBT equality before the Supreme Court.

On July 4, 1965, LGBT activists picketed for justice in front of Philadelphia’s Independence Hall. “Dressed in suits and dresses to appear ‘normal,’ they carried posters that demanded equality for gays and lesbians in a society that treated them as criminals and deviants,” said Chris Bartlett, executive director, William Way LGBT Community Center.

The public demonstrations were called “Annual Reminder” protests and would last until 1969 were sparked by one person’s failed effort to bring a discrimination case before the Supreme Court. They would become the first sustained national effort to focus attention on the discrimination faced by gay people and became a catalyst for LGBT Americans to organize for equality.

“Speaking Out for Equality” will be the centerpiece of “Reminder 2015: Celebrating 50 Years of LGBT History, Art and Culture.

A series of anniversary events planned under the leadership of the William Way LGBT Community Center and its Wilcox Archives and Library. The William Way Center will also cohost programs at the African American Museum in Philadelphia, the Free Library of Philadelphia, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Independence Visitor Center, and the National Museum of American Jewish History. A reenactment of the original Annual Reminder demonstration in front of Independence Hall will be held on July 4th.

“This exhibit is historic in many respects,” said Bartlett. “It is the first time that LGBT history, viewed through a Constitutional frame, is being explored at a national museum. It’s also historic given the time frame of the American LGBT civil rights debate: with a major LGBT civil rights case to be handed down by the United States Supreme Court while the exhibit is open this month”.

For more information, call 215-409-6700 or view constitutioncenter.org.

About the Author

In 2000, following a long and successful career as head of his own public relations agency, Jim became a freelance travel writer. In 2003 he was named travel editor at New York Trend. Jim travels widely in North America and Europe and has also visited in Asia, Africa, and Central America. He enjoys writing stories that bring alive his travel experience and entice the reader to visit new destinations. Jim is a member of the International Association of Black Travel Writers.

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