[caption id="attachment_1641" align="alignright" width="200" caption="Kate Shindle"][/caption]The former Miss America has been a crusader for several organizations. In fact, during her Miss America reign in the late 90s, she pushed for HIV/AIDS education and prevention. In the process, she became nationally known as an aggressive and accomplished voice in the AIDS movement.
About her current efforts, Shindle said in a statement, "It is clear that the marriage equality movement is the civil rights battle of my generation. Civil unions won’t cut it; there are over 1,000 rights afforded by legal marriage that civil unions do not provide. Unfortunately, fearmongering and bigotry have convinced many Americans that their faith is somehow threatened by allowing same-sex couples access to this institution. This is simply not true. Americans of all persuasions—including straight, Christian, Republican—must come together in recognition of the fact that same-sex marriage rights do not pose a single threat to heterosexual marriages. We must reject the use of God and religion to spread fear, hatred, and discrimination."
Shindle, who has run one previous marathon, told Playbill.com, "Last weekend, I did a 20-mile training run and could barely walk to the subway after it was over. But what keeps me going is the opportunity to make the statement that fringe lunatics and uneducated so-called activists (I'm looking at you, Carrie Prejean) do not define this issue. It is an effort that all Americans have to care about, regardless of their political or sexual orientation. 'Separate but equal' does not work. Still. So I will run and run and run, not just to raise badly-needed funds for the cause, but to disseminate the message that we all need to pay attention to this and demand that our legislators do the same."
Gavin Creel, the Hair star who is also a co-founder of Broadway Impact — a community of actors, directors, stage managers, fans and producers "united by the simple belief that anyone who wants to should be able to get married" — had this to say about Shindle's upcoming run: "As a grassroots coalition of the theatre community and its fans mobilizing in support of marriage equality, BroadwayImpact is always looking for interesting ways to get our message out there. So when one of our own, the super-talented Kate Shindle, thought of this exciting opportunity to educate and inspire people about the importance of achieving equal rights for all people in this country, while simultaneously running a whole lotta miles, we said, THANK YOU and GO DIVA!"
To join Shindle's run to raise money for marriage equality, click here.