Dozens marched through downtown Newark on Sunday in support of equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens.
The march coincided with the Equality March for Unity and Pride in Washington, D.C.
“We’ve gained a lot of rights, but they’re being threatened at the federal level,” said Eric Morrison, of Delaware United, the group that helped organize the local march. “We’re here to stand up and look those people in the face and respectfully but defiantly tell them we will not accept it.”
The demonstrators first gathered at New Ark United Church of Christ, where they heard from several speakers, including U.S. Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester. They then marched down Tyre Avenue, Delaware Avenue and Main Street.
March organizer Dustyn Thompson said the goal of the event was to unite the LGBT community and its allies.
“It’s to bring the whole community together and make sure we can stand up to any attacks on the community,” Thompson said.
State Sen. Stephanie Hansen told the crowd that several Republican senators walked out of the senate chamber during a recent discussion of a resolution designating June as LGBTQ Pride Month.
“This is a big job,” she said. “Only together can we change hearts and minds.”
Karen Peterson, a retired state senator and the first person to wed under Delaware’s 2013 law legalizing same-sex marriage, said LGBT advocates need to stay vigilant.
“Things we think of as rights can be taken away very quickly,” she said. “I’ve seen laws disappear in less than a week in Dover.”