In more than a dozen cities and towns around the country, religious clergy members and other community leaders marked National Freedom to Marry Day on Monday by calling on the public to support the right of same-sex couples to marry, Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund said. National Freedom to Marry Day links the themes of love and equality as exemplified by Valentine’s Day and Lincoln’s Birthday to call for an end to discrimination in marriage. Lambda Marriage Project director Evan Wolfson said, “With civil unions in Vermont, thousands of American businesses providing partner benefits, and the steady growth in support from nongay clergy, youth, and civic groups, the American people have awakened to the reality that lesbian and gay people deserve and want protections and respect for our families. Central to that awareness is the ongoing national discussion about ending discrimination in civil marriage, and person to person, group to group, state to state, we are asking nongay people to join the civil rights work—nothing more and nothing less.”
Among events recognizing this year’s National Freedom to Marry Day are:
• Chicago, February 12: News conference with dozens of religious and community leaders signing the Marriage Resolution; on Monday evening, an interfaith program featuring the Rev. Gregory Dell.
• Ellensburg, Wash., February 12: Wedding demonstration staged by Central Washington University students, joined by the university president and a board member. Forum follows with the Rev. Jane Newall.
• Fort Collins, Colo., February 12: Supporters march to Old Town Square to rally with leaders from diverse religious communities.
• Minneapolis, February 12: Wedding cake celebration for signers of the Marriage Resolution, including religious leaders, public officials, and community organizations, at Ruby’s Cafe on Loring Park.
• San Jose, Calif., February 12: “Speak Out for Our Children’s Future” with clergy and wedding cake, sponsored by Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gay Men; includes litany of marriage protections. Recorder’s office of Santa Clara County.
• Philadelphia, February 12, 14: University of Pennsylvania photo exhibit of commitment ceremonies with personal stories on Monday; commitment ceremony in honor of Freedom to Marry Day at La Salle University on Wednesday.
• Dayton, Ohio, February 13: Showing of the documentary The Right to Marry at Eternal Joy Metropolitan Community Church.
• Beverly Hills, Calif., February 14: Rally for the freedom to marry at the Beverly Hills municipal courthouse.
• San Francisco, February 14: Rally for the freedom to marry at San Francisco city hall; speakers will include Tom Ammiano, president of the San Francisco city council, and Mike Marshall from the No on 22 campaign.
• Eureka, Calif., February 14: Rally in support of the freedom to marry at the Humboldt County vital records office.
• Sacramento, February 14: Rally in support of the freedom to marry at the county recorder’s marriage license office.