Wednesday, February 12 is national Freedom to Marry Day and in two days’ time we will celebrate love, romance and marriage on Valentine’s Day. Each year during this week loving, committed same-sex couples, accompanied by their friends and supporters, attend events to render visible the harm that excluding them from marriage causes them and their families.
In states that still do not have the freedom to marry, same-sex couples will ask for marriage licenses. In states that do now have marriage equality, people will go to their local Clerk-Recorders to thank them for their work and support and to congratulate the couples obtaining marriage licenses that day.
Wednesday in San Francisco, couples will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the marriages performed in San Francisco City Hall beginning February 12, 2004.
“February 12 is our 10-year wedding anniversary, and the end of Proposition 8 was perfect anniversary gift,” said Stuart Gaffney, who has been together with his husband John Lewis for 27 years. “Finally being able to say ‘I Do’ was the happiest day of our lives together.”
In Utah, local organizers, Colleen and Jolene Mewing are in the midst of experiencing the highs and lows of the marriage equality movement.
“We hope there is a huge turnout for this year’s Valentine’s Day action,” said Colleen Mewing. “The case in Utah could set the precedent for other states that currently have an amendment restricting marriage to one man and one woman.” Jolene added, “I believe the more people who participate this year, and the more visible we are, the better chance we have of obtaining marriage equality for all.”
In Pennsylvania, couples across the state are inspired by Philadelphia’s history as a city of liberty and freedom.
“Loving, committed couples want to show their dedication to each other and should be rewarded and welcomed by their city. It is time for Philadelphia to live up to her name and open her arms to all of her citizens. After all, she is a city of LOVE,” said Thomas Hall, Regional Organizer with Marriage Equality for Pennsylvania.
This is the 16th year in a row that marriage equality supporters have appeared at clerks’ offices across the country on Valentine’s Day. These annual actions, started by Marriage Equality USA in the mid-90s, will be taking place this year in California, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Utah, and other locales. Information about these events and a list of actions can be found at www.LicenseOurLove.org.
“These annual events serve as a powerful and visual reminder of the decades-long movement for committed lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender couples across this country to simply be able to marry the person they love,” concluded Brian Silva, Executive Director of Marriage Equality USA.