D.C. Del. Walter E. Fauntroy said yesterday that organizers of Saturday's 20th anniversary March on Washington have decided there will be no speakers at the event from homosexual or abortion rights groups.
Fauntroy also announced the specific legislative package that organizers of the march have agreed to support, predicting that one of the measures, a bill to make the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday a national holiday, would pass Congress by Christmas.
In keeping with the march's "Jobs, Peace and Freedom" theme, Fauntroy said at a news conference that march organizers had agreed the event "would not be an aggregation of single-issue groups" and would not include as speakers those who advocated abortion and gay rights--positions that might hurt the march's coalition building.
Fauntroy acknowledged that the decision had angered members of the affected groups. He branded as "a lie" an article in a gay-oriented newspaper that quoted him as having compared the involvement of gays and other "extraneous groups" in the march with those pushing for "penguin rights."
Fauntroy said march organizers are "unanimously supportive" of the civil rights of all, including gay Americans, and that the march is expected to include a large contingent of gays who support the march's overall theme.
"But a speaker might be interpreted as the march's advocacy of abortion or the gay life style," said Fauntroy, who is national director of the march and chairman of its planning council.
In identifying specific legislation that the march's "New Coalition of Conscience" had agreed to work for, Fauntroy included the King holiday bill, amendments to the Fair Housing Act, the Equal Rights Amendment and the Hawkins Community Renewal Employment Act, which would create about one million state and local public jobs for the unemployed.
Another piece of priority legislation for the coalition is the Economic Equity Act, which would help achieve parity for women in areas of pensions, insurance, taxes, federal regulations, child support and child care.
"In 1983, almost 78 percent of all poor people are women and children," said Pat Reuss, legislative director of Women's Equity Action League, who appeared at the news conference with Fauntroy. She attacked Reagan administration cuts in social programs she said were especially helpful to unemployed and struggling working women.
On the foreign policy front, march organizers plan to support legislation that would cut defense spending, freeze the nuclear arms race, prohibit the export of nuclear material and technology to South Africa, block new U.S. investments in South Africa and call for unconditional negotiations toward a peaceful solution of the conflict in El Salvador.
The coalition supports, however, a proposed Defense Economic Adjustment Act designed to mitigate the effects of a military spending cuts or a nuclear freeze. March organizers had earlier toned down language on their foreign policy objectives in the Middle East.