By AJ Trager
See the photo gallery of the event by going here.
CINCINNATI – An estimated 700 LGBT and allied individuals came out in support of a Marriage Equality Rally on Aug. 5, one day before the 6th Circuit Court hearing that will have testimony from each same-sex marriage case from Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio and Michigan.
It was a beautiful evening gathered in Lytle Park near where the Cincinnati Reds play. Blue signs that read “Why Marriage Matters Ohio” and “Love is Love” covered many lamp posts. Attendees were told to wear red in celebration of “love” and the push to see same-sex marriage regarded as equal under the law. The majority of the crowd wore red, but the handful not wearing the color sported shirts with slogans and sentiments from the Human Rights Campaign or the Freedom To Marry.
Plaintiffs from Kentucky who spoke included Kim Franklin and her partner Tammy, Tim Love and Larry Love and Shannon Fauver and Dawn Elliott. Emily Dievendorf represented Michigan as the DeBoers could not attend the Aug. 5 rally but will be there the following day. Pastor Leslie Jones from the Truth and Destiny Church spoke in addition to Rob Richardson from the University of Cincinnati Board of Trustees.
But it was former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland that shook the stage and brought the crowd to an even stronger boil at the end of the evening.
“This is a great day in the great state of Ohio,” he started. “Let me say to you that I feel incredibly honored to be asked to be with you tonight. You are the foot soldiers in a war for Equality. Now, I thank you for every insult you’ve ever endured, every time you’ve ever been threatened by a bully, any… bless your heart. Let’s give this young woman a round of applause.”
It was at that moment that Strickland singled out one of the women in the audience, Audrey Remusat. Dressed in red, she was one of the few transwomen in attendance.
“Let’s give this woman a round of applause for her courage,” Strickland said and the crowd erupted.
Strickland also referenced Ohio a decade ago, when residents headed to the polls to vote on discrimination and equality.
“People have evolved on that issue. Ten years ago, the people of Ohio supported discrimination,” Strickland said, rolling into his statements about the SCOTUS decision to strike down the Defense Against Marriage Act. But he professes pride in Ohioans and how things are changing in favor of the LGBT movement.
“We have moved beyond tolerance–we are for inclusion.”
The March for Equality starts at noon, Aug. 6 outside the Cincinnati 6th Circuit Court House. The hearings will begin at 1 p.m.