Same-sex couples set to rally for marriage rights
2/12/2009, 4:13 a.m. EST
By VERENA DOBNIK
The Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) — Thousands of same-sex couples nationwide are prepared to apply for marriage licenses on Thursday — an exercise in legal futility.
The attempts are being undertaken to protest court and voter decisions restricting legal matrimony to opposite-sex couples.
Activists geared up for rallies at marriage bureaus or county clerks' offices in communities large and small — from New York, Arkansas, California and Florida to Kentucky and Nevada.
This week, which encompasses Lincoln's Birthday and Valentine's Day, marks the 12th annual Freedom to Marry Week, usually celebrated with marriage-license protests.
Same-sex partners and their non-gay friends, families and allies are demanding that no couple in a consensual, committed relationship be denied permission to marry — complete with the rights, protections and benefits the government assigns to the legal ritual.
This year's protests are more important than ever, said one New York organizer, because they come in the wake of California's Proposition 8 vote and just as New Yorkers look to their state Senate to pass legislation that could lead to legalized gay marriage.
"I want to have that option," said 23-year-old J. Heath Tucker, who doesn't want to get married now, but "when I find the person I fall in love with, I want to be able to get married."
He is a member of Join the Impact, a national community-based group that helped organize hundreds of people seeking licenses at the marriage bureau in lower Manhattan on Thursday.
This year's event "is more important because people had something given to them, then had it stripped away," Tucker said of California, where more than 18,000 same-sex couples were married last year.
As per that last paragraph, I think it is important to remember that the fate of the “marriages” of those 18,000 same-sex couples has yet to be decided.
So, throughout twelve years of “Freedom to Marry Week” observances, how has legalized homosexual “marriage” fared? Perhaps this chart will give folks an idea of just how important marriage between one man and one woman is for Americans:
States With Voter-Approved Constitutional Bans on Same-Sex Marriage, 1998-2008