Gay Rights Rally Draws Tens of Thousands to DC

Energized by Obama's vow on 'don't ask, don't tell,' activists demand equality
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 11, 2009 2:58 PM CDT
Participants in the National Equality March yell during a protest today in Washington, DC.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Thousands of gay and lesbian activists marched from the White House to the Capitol today, demanding that President Obama keep his promises to end "don't ask, don't tell" and work to end discrimination against gays. Rainbow flags and homemade signs abounded as participants chanted "Hey, Obama, let mama marry mama" and "We're out, we're proud, we won't back down." Many children were among the protesters.

A few counterprotesters also joined the crowd, which stretched several blocks. Some participants in the National Equality March woke up energized by Obama's blunt pledge to end the ban on gays serving openly in the military during a speech to the largest gay rights group in the US Saturday night. "I will end 'don't ask, don't tell,'" he said to a standing ovation from the crowd of about 3,000 at the annual dinner of the Human Rights Campaign. He offered no timetable or specifics.