Monday, July 10, 2006
Straight, Gay Iranians Join SF July 19 Vigil
For Immediate Release
July 10, 2006
Contact: Michael Petrelis
S.F. Announces Participation in Global July 19 Vigils for Gay Iranians
San Francisco, CA - Dozens of gays and their allies will gather on July 19 at 5:00 pm at Harvey Milk Plaza, Castro and Market streets, to commemorate the one-year anniversary of Iran hanging two gay teenagers, Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni, with a vigil and protest.
Speakers will include Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, an Iranian American, Rev. Robert Goldstein of St. Francis Lutheran Church, Michael Petrelis, a longtime gay organizer against the death penalty, and the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence will also participate. Gay Supervisor Bevan Dufty will serve as the moderator.
At the vigil, a letter from a closeted exile gay Iranian living in the Bay Area will be read to the crowd. He can't appear or speak in public, nor can he reveal his identity due to fear of reprisal and harassment from the Iranian government.
San Francisco is one of more than twenty cities in eleven countries holding July 19 speak outs and remembrances for the hanged Iranian teenagers, and also to show solidarity with the LGBT community in Iran. Actions are happening in Sioux Falls, Amsterdam, New York, Moscow, Sacramento, Vienna, San Diego, London, Washington, DC, and lots of additional locations.
The following statement came from Mayor Gavin Newsom, last year, when the hangings first were in the news: "I am both outraged and appalled by what can only be described as a most horrific atrocity effecting human lives in Iran. The hanging of two teenage boys for their alleged sexual orientation is an affront not only to justice but to all of our sense of humanity. Any one who lives in a civilized and free society must not take these events lightly. We must challenge the Iranian government to put an immediate end to these senseless killings. I proudly join in with all those who stand for freedom, liberty and true equality. We demand that the Iranian government cease these barbaric acts."
Organizers in San Francisco are also asking gay and human rights activists in cities where no vigils are yet scheduled for July 19, to step forward and pull together an action.