(CNSNews.com) - A homosexual advocacy group plans to hold a panel discussion on "gay icons in U.S. history" -- including President Abraham Lincoln -- as part of its national celebration at Philadelphia's Independence Hall later this spring.
Equality Forum is organizing a "national celebration" to mark the 40th anniversary of the "GLBT civil rights movement," which it says began with a small demonstration at Independence Hall on July 4, 1965 -- several years before the Stonewall riots in New York City.
The events will include a discussion of "closeted public leaders," led by Jonathan Katz, director of the Larry Kramer Initiative for Lesbian and Gay Studies at Yale University.
The panelists include a "recognized expert on Eleanor Roosevelt"; and the editor of C.A. Tripp's new book titled The Intimate Life of Abraham Lincoln, Equality Forum said in a press release.
"[Former N.J.] Governor [James] McGreavey showed mainstream Americans that homophobia has kept those who seek elected office in the closet," said Malcolm Lazin, executive director of Equality Forum. "These public officials include Abraham Lincoln, who saved the nation, emancipated slaves and founded the modern Republican Party."
Lazin said he has read The Intimate Life of Abraham Lincoln. "As a gay man and an amateur American historian, I find the evidence indisputable that the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, was a gay man," he said.
"Anyone not blinded by homophobia will recognize that the president who preserved our republic was gay. It is time that U.S. historical figures be emancipated from the closet," Lazin added.
Equality Forum said its national celebration (April 25 to May 1) features over 100 programs involving more than 105 organizations.
The May 1 celebration on Independence Mall includes a tribute to "gay pioneers"; a "SundayOUT" street festival; documentary screenings; an interfaith service led by Bishop Gene Robinson; and a "gay icons pavilion" at the Independence Visitors Center, among other events.
See Earlier Story:
New GLBT Historical Marker Coming to Independence Hall (24 Mar. 2005)
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