Media Release From:
Post Office Box 33292
Washington, DC 20033
Tel: (202) 223-6697
Fax: (202) 265-9737
For Further Information:
Washington, D.C. January 24, 2000. With banner held high, with voices strong, with our lesbian and gay identity open for all to see, the Pro-Life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians (PLAGAL) participated in the 2000 March for Life, joining over fifty thousand pro-lifers marching from the Ellipse to the Supreme Court. The Washington Metropolitan Police initially threatened arrest and, when they learned that most of the officers and members of PLAGAL were prepared to be arrested, subsequently attempted physically to block PLAGAL's entrance into the March. PLAGALites and a large number of friends and associates defied the orders of March President, Miss Nellie Gray and walked with the blue and pink PLAGAL banner on to Pennsylvania Avenue.
PLAGAL President Cecilia Brown stated, "We believe that the March for Life has been the annual focal point for the entire pro-life movement, not just for one element of it. To accept PLAGAL's ouster would not only send a false message that the pro-life movement was an exclusionary group, but it would betray our obligation to ourselves and to all of mankind to witness that human life begins at conception."
As has been the custom of "non-traditional" pro-life groups, PLAGAL gathered at the corner of 15th and Constitution Avenue at Noon to await the beginning of the March. There, PLAGAL was approached by Metropolitan Police officers, who advised PLAGAL that they had orders from Miss Gray that PLAGAL's banner could not be brought into the march. After the officers demanded that PLAGAL remove their banner because it contained the words "Lesbian" and "Gay," PLAGAL former President Moses Remedios slapped a "censored" label over the pink triangle and barely crossed out the offending words. PLAGAL subsequently avoided the police barricade by moving our banner up the street about a quarter block and stepped out onto Pennsylvania Avenue. The police officers showed no interest in pursuing us let alone arresting us. PLAGAL marchers then removed the tape covering the words "gays" and "lesbians," but decided to retain the "censored" label as a symbol of protest.
At the crest of Capitol Hill, PLAGAL stopped in front of the Russell Senate Office Building and distributed PLAGAL buttons, bumper stickers, and a flyer protesting our expected exclusion from the March to participants. After running out of materials, we then resumed the march, and saw none of our materials discarded on the street.
PLAGAL Past President Remedios said, "There apparently was some dissension in the March for Life leadership. Just in front of the Supreme Court, PLAGAL encountered Father Frank Pavone, head of Priests for Life and a member or former member of the board of the March for Life. Fr. Pavone was very friendly -- as he had always been in the past -- and requested a photograph of himself standing before the PLAGAL banner with PLAGAL officers."
At PLAGAL's Annual Meeting on Sunday night, January 23, 2000, four women and eight men were elected to the Board of Directors: Philip J. Arcidi, of Massachusetts; Hugh Joseph Beard, of the District of Columbia; Cecilia Brown, of Ohio; John S. Buckley, of Virginia; Steven Wesley Cook, of California; Martha Goodson, of Florida; Christopher Hinkle, of the District of Columbia; Donna M. Kearney, of New York; Betty Ann Keener, of Pennsylvania; John Mina, of California; Moses Remedios, of California; and Thomas Sena, of the District of Columbia. Thereafter, the Board elected Cecilia Brown as President of PLAGAL.
The Pro-Life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians was organized in 1990 to advance the pro-life message within the lesbian and gay community. It participates in lesbian and gay pride events throughout the nation, and has published articles in a number of lesbian and gay media. Currently, it has over 900 persons on its mailing list, and active groups in Boston, Cleveland, Los Angeles, and Washington, DC.