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Gay rights supporters hold teach-in to mark national day of protest

(KWMU photo)
Panelists including state Rep. Jeanette Mott Oxford (far right) address an audience during a gay rights \"teach-in\" at the Tivoli Theatre.

By Rachel Lippmann, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – The organizer of last month's gay rights rally at the Old Courthouse is calling his latest protest effort another success.

The teach-in at the Tivoli Theatre in the Loop was part of a national movement called "A Day Without A Gay." Gays, lesbians, and their supporters were told to take a day off and volunteer.

Comedian Ed Reggi says more than 100 people came to the series of lectures on issues like legal protections for same-sex couples. He says he planned the teach-in to help supporters capitalize on a new gay rights movement sparked by the passage of Proposition 8in California.

"I think education involves building bridges, reaching across the table, and building allies, and knowing who they are," he said. And a St. Louis lawmaker says the passage of Prop 8 could prove to be the grain of sand that turns into a gay rights pearl.

State Representative Jeanette Mott Oxford is the first openly lesbian member of the Missouri General Assembly. She says activists in Missouri need to focus their attention on a more fundamental struggle than marriage equality in the state.

"At this point it's still legal to fire people from their job or to kick people out of their lease arrangement around their apartment, or to refuse public accommodations based on sexual orientation or gender identity, so we're trying to win those more basic civil rights," she said.

The day of protest coincides with the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.


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