Monday, January 31, 2011

Gay Activists Valentine’s Day Action

Produced by Charlotte Robinson

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with Robin McGehee, Director of GetEQUAL and Molly McKay, Media Director of Marriage Equality USA, for a Gay Marriage update and about joining forces for a very important Valentine's Day Action. Since 2001, Marriage Equality USA chapters have engaged in annual marriage license counter actions to show the discrimination that is enforced every day against our LGBT community. Whether states have gay marriage, domestic partnerships, civil unions, or without any legal protections under their state's laws, all gay couples are denied the 1,138 federal rights of marriage. This Valentine’s Day action is an opportunity for our LGBT community to bring attention to this travesty and participate by going to their county clerks throughout America and requesting marriage licenses on February 14, 2011.
When asked how this collaboration came about McGehee stated, “From the GetEQUAL perspective we are in agreement that this nonviolent and civil disobedience action is going to illuminate for the community, not only locally in your own city, but if you can create a national narrative with multiple different cities and states taking action on Valentine’s Day by going into marriage county clerks offices and requesting a marriage license and introducing yourself to the staff that’s there and also to the (heterosexual) people who are there to get married and highlighting for them the discrimination, essentially we are producing the “lunch counter” moment. There are also people who are interested in having sit-ins and facing possible risk of arrest because they are unwilling to leave to highlight the discrimination. No matter where you fall in the spectrum from the person who doesn’t want to risk arrest to the person who does want to take that risk to highlight discrimination, the benefit is that people are taking action. As long as we are together in concert working toward highlighting discrimination at some point it will be the clarion call that cannot be denied. That is what I watched and witnessed from Molly and Marriage Equality USA for years, so when she called and asked if we could join forces together I didn’t hesitate because it just felt like a good fit.”

When asked what they hoped to accomplish with this action, McKay stated, “Ideally this is an opportunity for us to be in every local paper, every local TV and radio station in the area where an action takes place. It is important to be able to tell the local stories and for the people to hear from real-life people who are impacted by marriage discrimination and to have pictures of our families and have stories of how the inability to marry has impacted us. It is also an opportunity for our straight allies to come out and speak in support of marriage equality. So it’s really an opportunity to put a very personal message and face on this issue.”

We also addressed DOMA, (the Defense of Marriage Act) and Prop 8 which were both found unconstitutional in federal court. With public opinion polls showing that America favors gay marriage, we urge President Obama, Congress and all states with discriminatory laws on their books to stand for justice and equality for all people, as the Constitution requires, and work together to uphold the American tradition of fairness and equality by ending marriage discrimination.
For Info to Join the Action: equalityevents.ning.com

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