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Valentines Protest Results In Four Arrests


Activists in favor of gay marriage shout after being arrested by police in front of the Office of the City Clerk in Manhattan.

Just in time for Valentine's Day, four activists were arrested on Friday morning for an act of civil disobedience at the New York City Marriage Bureau office.

LGBT activist group Queer Rising led a crowd of protesters to the office where more than 20 same-sex couples applied to obtain marriage licenses but were turned down.

During a speech by a lesbian who applied for a marriage license with a gay man, four protesters chained and padlocked themselves to the door of the office. Alan Bounville, Jake Goodman, Justin Elzie, and Gabriel Yuri Bollag were arrested for blocking entrance to the marriage bureau and were threatened with misdemeanor misconduct, Spring Super of Queer Rising told The Advocate.

"It was very successful," Super said. "Civil disobedience and direct action as a tactic is the root of what this group is about."

The protest was the organization's first demonstration and its success ensures there will be more to come from Queer Rising.

"We plan to take up as many issues that are affecting the LGBT community as possible -- transgender issues, antidiscrimination, hate crimes, and violence," Super said.

Super expressed discontent with the methods previously used in the fight for same-sex marriage and said her group intends to bring different strategies to the fight.

"It's been very oriented around getting that friendly politician in and out of office," Super said. "That has been a very bankrupt strategy."

As a result of the failed same-sex marriage bill in New York, Queer Rising formed to galvanize and encourage LGBT people and straight allies to become active.

"What we're saying is we can't vote in a person or pressure the government with threats of voting," Super said. "We actually have to do a lot more."

Photos of the protest and arrest are on the following pages.

Video of the protest can be found below.

Activists stand chained together in front of the Office of the City Clerk.

An administrator turns down two men for a marriage license at the Office of the City Clerk.

Lesbian activist Natasha Dillon (left) and gay man Sergio Llanos display the marriage license they were able to get by marring each other, and not by marrying their actual partners at the Office of the City Clerk.

A soon-to-be-married couple looks over to protesting same-sex marriage activists who were also attempting to get marriage licenses in the Office of the City Clerk.

A proponent of gay marriage shouts while being led away by police from in front of the Office of the City Clerk.

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