The Daily Agenda for Wednesday, April 25
April 25th, 2012
Today is Anzac Day, a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand to mark the anniversary in 1915 when the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) landed on Gallipoli during World War I. The goal was to capture the Gallipoli peninsula from the Ottoman Empire and take Constantinople, but the campaign quickly turned into a quagmire that went on for eight months before ANZAC forces were evacuated following heavy losses on both sides. ANZAC day observances began in 1916, and they have been an important day of remembrance since then for both countries.
Soulforce Equality Ride Panel Discussion: Portland, OR. The Soulforce Equality Ride, which had been traveling across the U.S. visiting schools schools that openly discriminate against LGBT individuals and their allies through their policies and practices. The Equality Ride has moved on to Portland, Oregon, where tonight they will present “Intersectional Justice: A Panel Discussion and Networking Event” at Portland State University, beginning at 7:00 p.m. at the Smith Memorial Student Union, Room 296 (1825 Southwest Broadway Street).
TODAY IN HISTORY:
Gays Arrested At Philadelphia’s Dewey’s Malt Stand: 1965. Dewey’s on 17th Street in Philly’s Center City was a popular hangout, but the clientele disturbed the owners who decided to refuse service to those they deemed unworthy. First, it was “rowdy teenagers,” then it was those exhibiting “improper behavior” which some employees took to mean gay people and those wearing gender-variant clothing. On April 25, two teen boys and one teen girl were refused service. But instead of getting up and walking out, they remained seated and refused to leave. They were arrested along with Clark Polak, a gay rights leader, and found guilty of disorderly conduct.
The Janus Society, an early Philadelphia gay rights group, organized a five-day protest and leafletting campaign. Over 1,500 pieces of literature were distributed in front of the stand while gay rights leaders negotiated with the restaurant’s management. On May 7, protesters staged another sit-in. Management called police, but this time police determined that they had no authority to force the protesters to leave. After an hour, management gave in and agreed to “an immediate cessation to all indiscriminate denials of service.” It is believed to be the first documented instance when a sit-in was held in support of LGBT rights.
St. Paul Voters Overturn Gay Rights Ordinance: 1978. In 1977, a proposed state anti-discrimination law failed to pass the Minnesota legislature. That defeat, which occurred just three weeks before voters in Dade County, Florida voted down a similar measure that had been passed by the Miami-Metro government, emboldened anti-gay activists at St. Paul’s Temple Baptist Church to turn their attention to that city’s three-year-old gay rights ordinance. Pastor Richard Angwin, in launching the petition drive to put the ordinance’s repeal on the ballot, stated frankly, “I don’t want to live in a community that gives respect to homosexuals.”
Anita Bryant, fresh off her victory in Miami-Dade, joined the fray along with her husband, Robert Green. A week before the vote, Anita Bryant failed to show up at a rally, saying that she didn’t feel well. Some suspect that the pie throwing incident in Des Moines the previous fall may have unnerved her. Green showed up in her place and urged the crowd of 10,000 to stand against the forces of “moral breakdown of this nation,” saying “the devil is really working overtime.” Turnout was heavy for the special election, and St. Paul voters defeated the the gay rights ordinance by more than a two-to-one margin.
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And feel free to consider this your open thread for the day. What’s happening in your world?