Long-time gay activist and creator of the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt Cleve Jones serves on the board organizing the National Equality March that takes place in October. He spoke exclusively to Charlotte Robinson, the woman behind the website that features interviews with prominent gay rights activists, OUTTAKE VOICES.

In the interview, Jones says this year's march will be a serious political event, not a party.

“I want to be clear, though, previous marches have been sort of lollapalooza affairs with multiple stages and entertainment. We are not focusing on entertainment. There will be some music, of course, but this is a weekend that's about getting serious about political organizing”

“This is not a circuit party, this is an opportunity to focus on equality,” he added.

Jones, a devoted gay rights activists who was recruited into the fight by the late Harvey Milk, joined the growing chorus of calls for a march on the nation's capitol in June.

During a Gay Pride festival in Salt Lake City, Jones told the crowd: “We must seek nothing more and nothing less than equal protection in all matters governed by civil law in all 50 states.”

When the Obama administration defended a federal law that bans gay marriage, support for a march on Washington to demand equality from the federal government quickly galvanized.

Jones told Robinson that the march is about realigning the strategy of the gay rights movement from winning rights on a local level to winning nationwide.

“[The National Equality March] is really about changing the strategy. We have been fighting for 40 years now in a state-by-state, city-by-city, county-by-county approach. And, you know, its a phase strategy. We say that, you know, with no disrespect to those of us who have been pursuing that strategy. … That was a time in our history when limited rights could only be gained in very limited areas, college towns for example like Ann Arbor, Michigan and Madison, Wisconsin and liberal cities like San Francisco and West Hollywood.”

“But we think the public opinion has really shifted dramatically in our favor. We think for the younger generation the issue of LGBT rights is really non-controversial. And we think just the reality of the way our government is structured requires us to do this.”

“We need congressional action. When we have leaders like Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Barney Frank, who are clearly on our side, telling us that we don't have the votes [to pass pro-gay legislation], we need to do something about that. If we want the president to expend political capital on our behalf, we need to demonstrate quite clearly that we're willing to do that hard work in all 435 congressional districts.”

“We want to focus on federal action. We want to leave there energized and educated about how to do this work and we want to send people home to all 435 congressional districts to lobby the heck out of their representatives.”

On the Net: Listen to the entire audio interview at OUTTAKE VOICES.