Valentine’s Day Marriage Equality

For the LGBT community, Valentine’s Day is now synonymous with political action and demonstration. Every year, same sex couples from around the country gather at their County Clerk’s offices on that day to request marriage licenses with the knowledge that they will not be issued. It’s a way to keep the issue of marriage discrimination in America in the public dialogue.

This year, Fresno once again participated in this national movement by gathering downtown on Valentine’s Day and marching in to the County Clerk’s office. Despite a heavy promotional push for this event, it was not well attended. We had four same sex couples request marriage licenses, with some allies standing by in support. It’s disappointing that more of the LGBT community in Fresno didn’t get involved this year, and it seems there were many cities and towns with very small groups of support.
Quotes from various locations: 
“Only about a half dozen people showed up here . Getting people to give up class time was harder than I thought, but we delivered over 300 valentines of thanks to county officials from students and our clerk went on record in support.” Santa Cruz 

“We had a wonderful Valentine’s Day here . We gathered here in the lobby of our government building, The Rood Center, then proceeded upstairs to the County Recorder’s office. This year we had six same sex couples asking for licenses, some PFLAG supporters, the local UU minister and two tiny grandchildren.” Nevada County

“We had seven people including our adopted daughter, who was married in September but is definitely a supporter” Mendocino County

“Today was an awesome day. We had three couples from the county show up (Jeff & I, Kathy & Kristin from Vacaville and Max & Mary from Vallejo) as well as other supporters that included the Executive Director of the Solano Pride Center, as well as a member of one of the Vacaville churches, the Mayor of West Sacramento.” Solano County.
Political actions such as these, which occur every year, are vital in our continued battle for the end of discrimination in America. Gathering for such things as annual Pride events never seems to wane, whereas attendance at actual political events continues to struggle for support.For coverage of the Fresno demonstration, check out Mike Rhode’s article and photos by visiting the IndyBay website. For local news coverage you can read the KSEE24 Article. The video link in this article was broken when I checked, but I’ve provided a fix, and you can click the following link to access it: KSEE24 Video.
Following is a varied list of marriage equality events, organizations and movements from across the country. All of the people here are dedicated to achieving marriage equality in America. Everyone in the LGBT community should find a way to be involved on some level in this fight. It’s a fight for our very rights as American citizens. We cannot allow complacency and apathy to stifle our voices.
Marriage Equality is an organization “who’s sole purpose and focus is to end discrimination in civil marriage so that same sex couples can enjoy the same legal and societal status as opposite sex couples”.Besides coordinating the various Valentine's Day Demonstrations across the country, Marriage Equality has an event coming up on May 19th, The Wedding March, to be held in San Francisco and New York, which you can be a part of, or help raise funds for, or both, by clicking on this link: The Wedding March

Beth and Cynthia, Volunteer Co-Chapter Leaders for Marriage Equality USA – Stanislaus, organized a Marriage License Counter event at the Stanislaus County Clerk Recorder's Office in Downtown Modesto. Watch a video presentation of their event by clicking here: Modesto Demonstration Video

Political demonstrations on Valentine’s Day were covered by The Modesto Bee, The Daily Californian, The Reporter in Vacaville California, The Times Herald in Vallejo California, The Spectrum in Marin County, The Ukiah Daily Journal in Mendocino County and The Daily Democrat in Woodland California.Click on the following link to access an article about a Vallejo Heterosexual Couple who have chosen to not marry until same sex marriage is legalized…and this is an article about couples who were married 3 years ago during the historical San Francisco ceremonies. To watch video from the Bay Area click on KRON Video.
Dan Furmanksy spoke on February 12, 2007, at the Equality Maryland Lobby Day at the Lawyers' Mall in Annapolis, Maryland. Watch the video here:… (moreEquality Maryland Lobby Day VideoGood As You is a website that uses humor and irreverence rather than anger and protests. “Now is the time for intelligent, progressive-minded individuals to step up and fight for the common rights of which they might be denied. We're here to rally the troops.” On this website  you can read about Freddie Oakley, the Christian elections clerk in Yolo County, who made national news by writing her own “certificate of inequality” as a measure of support for same sex couples. 
An interesting initiative has been filed by in Washington state by the Washington Defense Of Marriage Alliance, a group that “seeks to defend equal marriage in this state by challenging the Washington Supreme Court’s ruling on Andersen v. King County. This decision, given in July 2006, declared that a legitimate state interest allows the Legislature to limit marriage to those couples able to have and raise children together. Because of this “legitimate state interest,” it is permissible to bar same-sex couples from legal marriage”. The current initiative is an attempt to challenge the courts on the basis on which so many reject the notion of same sex marriage, procreation. It suggests that married heterosexual couples who have not procreated within 3 years of marriage should have their licenses revoked. Read the Story. Watch a clip of an MSNBC Video which discusses the topic.
The National Organization For Women or NOW, is dedicated to help end marriage discrimination. See what they’re doing and how you can be a part of it by checking out: NOW – Equal Marriage NowThe Wedding Party is an all volunteer nonprofit organization that supports and celebrates same-sex partnership, and educates the public on the need for equal marriage rights.Freedom To Marry is a gay and non-gay partnership working to win marriage equality nationwideGay Marriage World is a website with both political issues and discussions, as well as a resource for all things needed for your gay wedding or commitment ceremony… Glad – Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, founded in 1978, is a “legal rights organization dedicated to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation, HIV status and gender identity and expression”.

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