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Gay Couples Mark Valentine's Day With Marriage Pro


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Gay Couples Mark Valentine's Day With Marriage Protests

by Doreen Brandt 365Gay.com Washington Bureau

Posted: February 14, 2005 12:01 am. ET

(Washington) In Massachusetts married same-sex couples are exchanging chocolates and flowers to show their love, but the Bay State is the only one where gay marriage is legal. Elsewhere across the country, Valentine's Day is being marked today with demonstrations and acts of civil disobedience to draw attention to marriage inequality.

At statehouses, courthouses and city halls nationwide, same-sex supporters will rally as the centerpiece of Freedom to Marry Week.

Today marks the 7th year in a row that Freedom to Marry Week has been held, but this year the mood is more combative. Last year 13 states enacted constitutional bans on gay marriage - 11 of them on Nov. 2.

A number of other states currently have proposed amendments before their legislatures. Kansas lawmakers already have placed such a ban on the ballot for a statewide vote April 5.

"There's a greater appreciation this year of how much more work there still is to do," lawyer Evan Wolfson who heads the Freedom to Marry campaign told the Associated Press.

"The hits we took last year were sad but predictable," Wolfson said.

"We are at a moment of peril right now where our opponents are able to stampede people into adopting these discriminatory amendments, depriving them of the time to take a deep breath and embrace fairness," he added.

Monday's events include rallies for gay marriage in Milwaukee, Portland, Ore. and Tampa, Fla., and at the statehouses in Maryland, New Mexico and Washington state.

At the rally in Maryland, the highlight will be the daughter of anti-gay broadcaster and failed GOP Senate candidate Alan Keyes.

It will be Maya Marcel-Keyes first public appearance as a gay activist. Marcel-Keyes told the Washington Post her parents have thrown her out of the house, stopped speaking to her and refuse to pay for college because she is a lesbian.

During last summer's GOP convention Alan Keyes went on a tirade against gays and caused a stir when he labeled Vice President Dick Cheney's lesbian daughter a sinner and called homosexuality "selfish hedonism." But when asked about his own daughter he refused to discuss it. (story)

"It was kind of strange that he said it like a hypothetical," Marcel-Keyes told the Post. "It was really kind of unpleasant."

In Richmond, Va., gay and lesbian couples plan to apply for marriage licenses at City Hall, then be united in ceremonies performed by a minister from the Metropolitan Community Church.

Same-sex couples in California also plan to request marriage licenses from their county clerk's offices.

"The more people have a chance to hear how families like ours are harmed by the exclusion from marriage, the more they will embrace fairness and equality under the law," Equlity California Executive Director Geoff Kors told 365Gay.com.

On Saturday, 3,000 gays and lesbians celebrated San Francisco's short-lived gay marriages. (story)

In Houston, Texas, on Saturday, 42 gay and lesbian couples exchanged vows at Resurrection Metropolitan Community Church.

But, foes of same-sex marriage will also be out in force today. Liberty Counsel, a Florida-based conservative legal group has organized Day of Purity rallies.

In Arkansas, Gov. Mike Huckabee and his wife, Janet, will renew their wedding vows in the presence of hundreds of other couples. "The nation will be watching as we take a stand for marriage," the Huckabees' invitation said.

Arkansas last year approved a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

Liberty Counsel says that roughly 2,000 schools and church groups have signed up to participate in The Day of Purity.

The organization is encouraging participants to wear white T-shirts as a symbol of purity, and to hand out flyers to fellow students denouncing gay marriage, likening it to promiscuity and sexually transmitted diseases.

"Students are bombarded with the message that they should become sexually active at a young age and to experiment with their sexual preferences," Liberty Counsel said in a statement. "The Day of Purity offers the youth who strive for sexual purity an opportunity to stand in opposition to a culture of moral decline."

©365Gay.com 2005


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