It has become a Valentine's Day tradition for same-sex couples to apply for marriage licenses – and be denied those licenses in most U.S. states. The 15-year tradition, part of Freedom to Marry Week, will continue on Thursday, when same-sex couples from California to Virginia, Texas to Pennsylvania, ask clerks for licenses.
"President (Barack) Obama’s inauguration speech included LGBTIQ Americans in a way that was inspiring, powerful and timely. He tied Seneca Falls, Selma and Stonewall together with the same thread, forever binding the fabric of civil rights across all generations," stated Brian Silva, executive director of Marriage Equality USA. "For the first time in a presidential inauguration speech, we heard LGBT people included with 'We the People.' However, same-sex couples still cannot marry the person they love in the majority of American states. To that end we will once again gather at marriage counters on Valentine’s Day and ask to be issued marriage licenses."
Marriage Equality is working with GetEQUAL, California Faith for Equality, the Foundation for Family and Marriage Equality in Texas, the Coalition of Welcoming Congregations and other groups on the Valentine's Day actions.
"We go to marriage license counters across the country to tell the stories of our LGBTIQ friends and family; to show that they live in every community and that we want to honor and protect their families just like everyone else," said the Rev. Rebecca Harrison, who will lead couples at San Francisco City Hall. "Love makes a marriage and the time for marriage equality is now."
Actions are scheduled in Houston, Salt Lake City, Arlington, Hampton and Charlottesville, Va.; Bellafonte and Lancaster, Pa.; Columbus, Ohio; Tampa, Fla.; and multiple California cities.
Activists and lawmakers are working in several states, including Illinois, Minnesota and Rhode Island, to enact marriage equality legislation. The Illinois Senate could vote on a bill as early as Feb. 14.
Same-sex couples can marry in the District of Columbia, Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont and Washington.