Equality Florida CEO recalls 1993 March on Washington

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Written By: Michael K. Lavers

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. — Equality Florida CEO Nadine Smith is among the LGBT activists who met with then-President Clinton in the Oval Office on April 16, 1993.

The meeting — which was the first between a sitting U.S. president and advocates in the Oval Office — took place nine days before the 1993 March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation.

Smith, who was a co-chair of the 1993 March on Washington, told attendees of the World OutGames Miami Human Rights Conference in Miami Beach on May 27 that she urged Clinton to speak at the march. Smith said that Clinton talked about a four-star general who approached him during a Rose Garden event that took place shortly after his inauguration.

“[He said,]’I want to talk to you about this whole gays in the military thing,’” said Clinton, according to Smith. “And he said, ‘I thought this guy was going to deck me and I wondered what the Secret Service would do if he did.’”

Clinton said the general told him his son is gay and he “would be a perfect cadet but because he was out he couldn’t get into the military academies and that was ridiculous,” according to Smith. The general then told Clinton that he “served with gay soldiers and he needed to fix it.”

Clinton did not speak at the 1993 March on Washington, which was televised and took place less than eight months before he signed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Clinton in 1996 signed the Defense of Marriage Act.

Smith, who was named an honorary co-chair of the upcoming Equality March for Unity and Pride on Tuesday, said the 1993 march left a lasting impression.

Read the full article here: https://www.washingtonblade.com/2017/06/01/equality-florida-ceo-recalls-1993-march-washington/



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