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Related Categories: U.S. | LGBTI / Queer
National "Freedom to Marry Week" Actions Feb 9-15
by Dontamend.com
Sunday Jan 11th, 2004 11:06 PM
World's Largest Gay Church Group And DontAmend.com
Announce National "Freedom to Marry Week":"Gays Called To Flood Marriage Bureaus With Same-Sex Marriage License Applications And Participate In National Pro-Marriage Rallies
N E W S R E L E A S E
For Immediate Release: January 8, 2004

World's Largest Gay Church Group And DontAmend.com
Announce National "Freedom to Marry Week" Actions
* February 9-15, 2004 *
Gays Called To Flood Marriage Bureaus With Same-Sex Marriage License Applications And Participate In National Pro-Marriage Rallies

Los Angeles -- Lesbian and gay rights activists today announced sweeping plans for a set of civil rights rallies and other events during "Freedom to Marry Week," February 9-15, 2004.

National organizations The Equality Campaign, DontAmend.com and Metropolitan Community Churches, the world's largest predominantly gay and lesbian church group, are joining hands with a network of civil rights groups including Marriage Equality and the National Freedom to Marry Coalition. Their goals are to increase support for marriage equality for same-sex couples and to stop a proposed anti-gay amendment to the US Constitution. If passed, the constitutional amendment would not only prohibit marriages by same sex couples, but according to some legal scholars, it could also wipe out a host of local, pro-gay civil rights protections around the country.

"We're not taking this threat lying down. Activists in cities across the nation are stepping forward to organize civil rights rallies," said activist Robin Tyler, a co-founder of DontAmend.com and Executive Director of The Equality Campaign. Tyler was an organizer and producer for three of the four national Lesbian and Gay marches on Washington and co-founder of StopDrLaura.com, a grassroots organization that successfully stopped the anti-gay radio host Dr. Laura Schlessinger's national television program. "These rallies across the United States are designed to secure civil rights the way they always have been won, by mobilizing the affected community and their allies in the streets of the nation and sending a strong message that our community deserves and demands full equal legal rights, including the right to marry, said Tyler. "Accepting any status less than marriage, for example, civil unions or domestic partnership, does not afford us the same benefits as marriage. These so called 'compromises' are supposed to be 'separate, but equal' but in fact, are a form of marriage segregation which treats us as second class citizens. Marriage is a human right, not a heterosexual privilege."

Already more than 20 cities are organizing civil rights rallies and other events, and national organizers expect that number to double by Valentine's Day, February 14. Many gay rights activists are particularly incensed at the role the Catholic Church has taken in promoting the anti-gay constitutional amendment, in the wake of the Church's rampant sex scandal.

"We are not asking for special rights, we are seeking equal rights," said veteran human rights activist Rev. Troy D. Perry, Founder and Moderator of Metropolitan Community Churches, a Christian denomination with 43,000 members in 22 countries. MCC churches perform more than 6000 same-sex weddings every year, "These are weddings that are blessed by God but denied recognition by our government," said Perry.

"During Valentine's Week, February 9-15, I am calling on gay and lesbian couples to go to courthouses, municipal offices and marriage bureaus across America to apply for marriage licenses," added Perry, who was the first openly gay member of the Los Angeles Human Rights Commission and a past delegate to the White House Conference on Hate Crimes.

Perry noted that his own legal marriage in Canada this past year to his longtime partner Philip Ray DeBlieck had increased his commitment to work for marriage equality for all people.

"We plan to use the events of Valentine's Weeks as educational events -- we're inviting the media and the press to join us all across the country, and we plan to use this opportunity to explain why God's gay and lesbian children should be entitled to full equal rights, including marriage rights."

Persons wanting to organize Freedom to Marry Week events in their community are encouraged to contact RTDontAmend [at] aol.com. A free e-mail action kit for holding community actions is also available by writing to info [at] MCCchurch.org. To get in touch with local organizers, please visit http://www.dontamend.com/rallies. Additional resources for same-sex marriages can be found on-line at http://www.MCCchurch.org.

Cities currently organizing public events and rallies include:

Appleton, WI, Atlanta, GA, Broward, FL, Chicago, IL, Clinton, IA, Columbia, SC, Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX, Delray Beach, FL, Denver, CO, Des Moines, IA, Harrisburg, PA, Ithaca, NY, Lancaster, PA, Little Rock, AK, Los Angeles, CA, Sacramento, CA, Seattle, WA, Tampa Bay, FL, Tucson, AZ, Washington, DC, and Williamsburg, VA

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anything around here?northern caliSunday Jan 11th, 2004 11:19 PM
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