By Dawn Wolfe
In Michigan, there will be a kiss-a-thon on the Oakland County courthouse steps, and state lawmakers will be receiving Valentines.
In Louisville, people of faith will show their less-enlightened brothers and sisters that “God Blesses Love” with Kentucky’s first large scale wedding ceremony and reception for LGBT couples.
There will be rallies on state capitols’ steps, and house parties throughout the country. According to Harry Knox, program director for Freedom to Marry, over 200 events are planned in California alone.
The focus, inspiration and reason for this surge of pro-LGBT activism is the ninth annual Freedom to Marry Week.
Knox says that the Week is growing fast.
“[It’s] hard to quantify,” said Knox, “[but] the organizations that have been a part of it in the past are at least doing what they did last year, and many are doing more.”
“People are very excited and very motivated,” he added.
Knox said that house parties are the fastest-growing type of event being held during the Week.
“LGBT folks are really looking to engage, to have deep conversations with their non-gay friends, family members and co-workers,” about the importance of protecting their relationships, he said.
Knox urged individuals, as well as all types of organizations that support equality, to become involved.
For example, Knox said, “Local congregations can orient to people of faith, and labor unions can do an education program,” to teach members of the fair-minded straight community about the struggles faced by LGBT families faced with laws that discriminate against our relationships.
Freedom to Marry is prepared to help. People interested in organizing an event can visit Freedom to Marry’s website at http://www.freedomtomarry.org for a kit to help them host events “from the simple to the sublime,” said Knox.
Knox was quick to add that Freedom to Marry week belongs to the entire LGBT community.
“It’s always been something that all organizations, and even individual advocates have been encouraged to give leadership to,” he said. “It doesn’t belong to any of us, it belongs to all of us.” http://Don’tAmend.com, Metropolitan Community Churches, and the Unitarian Universalist Association are among the organizations that Knox cited as planning events to commemorate Freedom to Marry Week.
Freedom to Marry here at home
Michigan organizers haven’t let the passage of the anti-family Proposal 2 deter them from advocating for equal marriage rights. On Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14, Divine Peace MCC will hold a kiss-in in front of the Oakland County Courthouse before couples go in and apply for marriage licenses. Divine Peace’s minister, the Reverend Deborah Dysert, will be on hand to bless the couples’ unions as they leave the courthouse.
“We need to keep being very visible in our communities, letting them know we are here and we are asking for the same rights that other couples have,” said Rev. Dysert.
On the same day, the Triangle Foundation will deliver over 2,500 postcards asking for equal marriage rights to Michigan’s state legislators in Lansing. The cards have images of gay and lesbian couples on them and say:
“After Proposal 2 codified discrimination in our state constitution, LGBT people are more galvanized than ever to fix what’s broken in our state laws. We kick off that campaign today,” said Triangle’s Director of Policy Sean Kosofsky.
To find out about activities, list your activity, or download a Freedom to Marry Week planning kit, visit http://www.freedomtomarry.org.
To join in the event at the Oakland County Courthouse and help make a serious statement about the right to marry, call Divine Peace MCC and ask for Barb or Rev. Deb at 248-618-1186.
Details about planned events at the Macomb and Wayne County courthouses weren’t available as of press time. For more information call Rev. Mark Bidwell at MCC Detroit, 248-399-7741.
For more on the Triangle Foundation’s campaign to fight the Proposal 2 fallout and secure the right to marry, contact Sean Kosofsky at 313-537-3323, ext. 105