Joining in on Valentine’s Day

February 19, 2011 at 7:00 am 53 comments

By Matt Baume

What did you do for Valentine’s Day? If you were lucky, you got to participate in a revolution.

Across the country, gay couples and their allies stepped up to marriage counters around the country to ask for licenses. Some were turned away, some were arrested, and all will be back every year until we all have the freedom to marry.

I’d watched these rallies in past years and always felt that they were moving. This year, I wanted to make sure they were documented as part of my work the fight for equality with So I contacted organizers in nearly thirty different cities from coast to coast, asking them if they could assign someone to videotape.

The response was fantastic — in nearly every city, I found someone who could supply footage. But we had to move fast. The demonstrators’ arrest paperwork was still warm on Monday night when we started our flurry of uploading, file transfers, and even one overnight Fed-Ex of mini-DV tapes.

In San Francisco, a chorus sang as people were arrested by openly sympathetic cops. It was sunny at a rally in Albuquerque, and blustery at a spiritual ceremony in New York. Chicago protesters sat in the marriage office for six hours, and San Antonio couples joined a mass wedding alongside straight couples.

Why is this so important? Because it’s easy to lose sight of our greatest strength: a shared bond that can span thousands of miles. From the small group of protesters in tiny Bellefonte, Pennsylvania to the massive crowd in East Los Angeles, we all stand together when we stand for what’s right.

Even though the queer community is spread out all over the world, we’re all a part of the same big huge wonderful loving family. I can’t think of better company for Valentine’s Day.

Entry filed under: Marriage equality, Videos.

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53 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Ray in MA  |  February 19, 2011 at 7:05 am


  • 2. Dave in ME  |  February 19, 2011 at 7:08 am

    I don’t understand why there were arrests.

    Dave in Maine

    • 3. fiona64  |  February 19, 2011 at 7:12 am

      I’m guessing that it was because the people didn’t leave after they were refused a marriage license. My understanding was that they held a sit-in.

      Fiona (who is glad that the cops were openly sympathetic .. the vast majority of folks in Northern CA see Prop 8 as the travesty that it is)

    • 4. Kathleen  |  February 19, 2011 at 11:00 am

      Yes, the actions in some of the cities included sit-ins.

  • 5. Ray in MA  |  February 19, 2011 at 7:26 am

    Hey Fiona64,

    Do you recall our comments on the PolotFact article in the PROJO? Journalistic top/down compostition?

    They got back to me…

    Hello Ray,

    Your e-mail was forwarded to me.

    I can see where you might wonder about the style of PolitiFact items if you are measuring them against the traditional inverted pyramid style of newswriting. But PolitiFact is a very different form of reporting and writing. By design, PolitiFact items are arguments that build to a conclusion and a ruling. So the summary often is at the very end, as opposed to a traditional news story that would be summarized in the first few paragraphs.

    Tim Murphy
    Editor/PolitiFact Rhode Island
    The Providence Journal

    Me: that may be justified for online articles, but I don’t agree it is approp for newspaper.

    • 6. fiona64  |  February 19, 2011 at 10:08 am

      Ray, I concur with you. This was not an op-ed or a feature (where I could see such a decision being made) … but a news item.

      Oh, well.


  • 7. Ronnie  |  February 19, 2011 at 8:10 am

    Awesome video montage of the Valentine’s Day demonstrations…..I wanted to go to the one in New York but I wasn’t feeling to well…my sinuses have been all over the place lately…(sighs)…<3…Ronnie

  • 8. Dave in ME  |  February 19, 2011 at 8:24 am

    I find that a lot of these videos are kind of schmaltzy, but one scene that really stuck out for me in this one was when the lady in Yolo, California gave the couple an IOU and said that when the day comes, it would be “my joy to issue a marriage certificate for you.”

    Dave in Maine

    • 9. Joe  |  February 19, 2011 at 9:37 am

      Definitely give props to the lady that wrote the IOU, that was cool.

    • 10. Kathleen  |  February 19, 2011 at 10:59 am

      I read somewhere that the clerk in Yolo actually prepared for the day by printing up a bunch of IOUs to hand out as a way of showing solidarity with the protests.

      • 11. John  |  February 19, 2011 at 9:27 pm

        The IOUs listed the rights denied to same-sex couples.

        Good for her for recognizing injustice when she sees it.

        I was feeling pretty down last week after seeing the delay for the prop 8 trial, but a few days has reminded me that history is going to be on the side of justice, and there will be a generation of kids, not very long off, who will be incredulous when their teachers say that their grandparents couldn’t marry the person they loved unless they were opposite sex – just as I was when I learned that couples were denied recognition of love for having the wrong color of skin.

    • 12. RockyMissouri  |  February 19, 2011 at 12:02 pm

      I love that story…! Thank you for sharing it!

  • 13. JonT  |  February 19, 2011 at 8:29 am

  • 14. Sagesse  |  February 19, 2011 at 9:00 am

    Curiosity question. There’s a lot of buzz around marriage equality this year. Does anyone have a sense whether these demonstrations were larger/more visible this year? Another aspect of telling the story.

  • 15. Richard A. Jernigan  |  February 19, 2011 at 9:03 am

    And the more times we show up, the more people will see us and realize that love is love and that marriage is marriage.

  • 16. Richard A. Jernigan  |  February 19, 2011 at 9:04 am

    Clicking the box helps, doesn’t it?

  • 17. Bob  |  February 19, 2011 at 9:50 am

    Great action,,, great visibility,,,,, great awareness,,,, for those who happened to be present,,, i.e. county clerks, police, passersby,,,, really really an excellent job of standing up and making discrimination visible….

    does anyone know how much of this made it into main stream mediia,,,, across the country, even the smallest place if it mkes it into local news it brings the story into pleoples homes….

    I too wonder about the people arrested,,, and how the organizers of the demonstrations prepared for that,, and if they got the kind of media attention they were looking for with those arrests,,,,

    great action all across the country,,,, thanks for all those who participated to make this visible…. including organizers and photographers,,,,,,

  • 18. Ronnie  |  February 19, 2011 at 10:03 am

    Julian Bond: Md. must end marriage discrimination

    “As a civil right activist, I have spent my life fighting to make ours a more just and fair society. That’s why I urge the Maryland General Assembly to support marriage equality and pass the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act. I firmly believe that this is a matter of civil rights, equal protection and equality. Civil rights are positive legal prerogatives — the right to equal treatment before the law. These are rights shared by everyone; there is no one in the United States who does not — or should not — share in enjoying these rights. Discrimination is wrong no matter who the victim is. We cannot move toward full human rights protection and opportunity without confronting — and ending — homophobia. For it is homophobia that is at the root of denying the freedom to marry to gays and lesbians.”


  • 19. Sagesse  |  February 19, 2011 at 10:46 am

    From my mom’s home state.

    Legislature Debates the Rights of Montana’s LGBT Community

    • 20. Dave in ME  |  February 19, 2011 at 10:56 am

      “Opponents argue that sexual orientation is a choice and the bill discriminates against their own religious views. “This bill actually discriminates against me and those who believe as I do that homosexuality and Transgender and all of these things is an abomination to God,” says Harold Himes, a pastor and a member of Montana Eagle Forum.”

      Aside from the abomination nonsense, if one’s religion were to say that women are inferior to men and should not be allowed to own their own property, work outside of the home, control their own money, or have a child out of wedlock, would discriminating based on those religious views then be okay? Would it be okay to deny a woman a job or a single mother an apartment?

      Ah, well, you can’t talk to people who are that far away from reason. Those who WANT equality without the word “marriage” you can talk to. Those who want to discriminate in the name of religion because we are an abomination-it’s time to move on to someone else.

      Dave in Maine

      • 21. Linda  |  February 19, 2011 at 11:50 am

        @Dave–Exactly! Sanctioned religious bigotry is reaching a fevered pitch right now. The distorted tunnel vision of these people is beyond comprehension. And you’re right, ‘you can’t talk to people who are that far away from reason.’ They actually dare to argue that any legislation that contradicts their personal religious views is discrimination against them. But obviously that only applies to them, and people who have the same views as them. People holding different religious views don’t count.

        My hope is now that they are getting their much-desired attention, their foolishness will be exposed.

      • 22. Chris in Lathrop  |  February 19, 2011 at 3:03 pm

        True, true, Dave! And as a counter to this Himes tool, I feel the state of California, through Prop H8, is discriminating against me as a Wiccan high priest, denying me the ability to perform legally binding wedding/handfasting ceremonies for everyone. There is no tenet in Wicca barring the joining of whomsoever wishes to be joined.

        You might remember that my wife and I were asked to perform a ceremony for one of our coven member’s daughter and her “hus-butch”; case in point.

    • 23. Sheryl, Mormon Mother of a wonderful son who just happens to be gay  |  February 19, 2011 at 12:21 pm

      Thanks for posting this, Sagesse. I get so angry when I read about new bills aimed at keeping the LGBT community as 2nd class citizens who don’t deserve the same rights the rest of us have. Religion has no part in civil law. I just wish that someone would propose a law that would infringe on the real, not imagined, rights of these so-called Christians, boy would they be singing a different tune about discrimination.

      Sheryl, Mormon Mother

    • 24. Bob  |  February 19, 2011 at 2:20 pm

      glad the debate is happening in Montana,,,,, debate is good,,,, make a noise,,,, talk it up,,,,, human rights are coming!!!!!!

      woot to Montana

  • 25. Kathleen  |  February 19, 2011 at 11:07 am

    Matt, LOVE this video and thank you so much for all the work that went into getting this up so quickly. I saw it when it first posted.

    btw, which cities resulted in arrests. I know San Fran, but others?

    • 26. Rhie  |  February 19, 2011 at 1:21 pm

      I’m curious too.

    • 27. mattymatt  |  February 20, 2011 at 1:52 am

      I know there were some in Chicago, and I believe there were plans in a few other cities but I don’t have confirmation that it actually happened.

  • 28. Michelle Evans  |  February 19, 2011 at 11:36 am

    It’s been a rough week for marriage equality, with the Prop 8 case having a year or so added to its timeline by the California Supreme Court. It is wonderful to see this video and know there are so many others out there, all over America and the world, that are fighting for the same things we are here.

    I know we have a wonderful community of supporters here on the P8TT, but even then, there are so many days when it just seems Cherie and I are here alone, waiting, and waiting to move on with our lives.

    Hard to type through the tears. Forgive me…

    • 29. Gregory in Salt Lake City  |  February 21, 2011 at 5:34 am

      Our home internet was down for a few days. The first thing I did after got it working was to tune into prop8TT. Got a quick (modest) donation in to take advantage of the PP matching. Then watched the Valentine video sitting next to my hubby….tears streaming down my face….tears of gratitude for those willing to be visible and hold peaceful protests and was moved at seeing beautiful couples creating a life together… I too sometimes feel alone and waiting…

  • 30. Rich  |  February 19, 2011 at 11:47 am

    I posted this in an earlier blog so in case you missed it: “Breaking news in Maine: Federal judge upholds Maine’s election disclosure laws. NOM donated 1.9 million to mislead Maine’s citizens in the Marriage Equality vote. Now, we will find out just who was part of the smear and fear campaign.”

    • 31. Kathleen  |  February 19, 2011 at 11:49 am

      As I noted on the other post, I can’t see NOM accepting this decision without an appeal. They use the fact that they can hide the identities of their contributors as a selling point in soliciting donations.

      • 32. Sheryl, Mormon Mother of a wonderful son who just happens to be gay  |  February 19, 2011 at 12:24 pm

        Yes, they will definitely appeal and even when they lose that appeal, it will be a long time before we see that list. But, it will be wonderful for these supporters to know that their names will be made public, that they can’t hide their bigotry behind an organization.

        Sheryl, Mormon Mother

  • 33. libra_rising  |  February 19, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    Is it possible that this decision by the CASC to certify the question from the ninth circuit and/or even the ninth circuit’s decision to ask the question could be appealed to SCOTUS? Anyone know?

    • 34. Kathleen  |  February 19, 2011 at 12:44 pm

      The simple answer is “no, it can’t be appealed.”

      The California Supreme Court is the court of last resort concerning California law. So, the Court’s decision to take the question from the 9th Circuit and whatever opinion it comes to regarding California law cannot be appealed anywhere.

      As to the 9th Circuit decision to certify the question(s), I’m a little fuzzy (okay, a lot fuzzy) on procedural issues that impact what can be appealed and when. But, in general, the US SC isn’t likely to get involved in the 9th Circuit’s handling of the case at this stage in the proceedings. Once the 9th Circuit hears back from the CA SC and makes a decision based on whatever opinion the CA court delivers, THEN that decision can be appealed to SCOTUS.

      • 35. libra_rising  |  February 19, 2011 at 1:21 pm

        Thank you, Kathleen.

      • 36. Bob  |  February 19, 2011 at 2:44 pm

        if the decision were aplpaled to SCOTUS it could have a national affect , but only on the issue of marrriage,,,, and if everyone could get married,,, we’d still have to bring other equal rights issues,,,, work them from the state level up to SCOTUS,,,,,

        in local groups in individual states, is anyone thnking of a case that could be brought forward that would be more broader, including all human rights,,,,,,, wonder what that case would look like???

        same with congress, we need a legislator that would bring a bill forward,, so far legislators have been telling us to fight it at state levels,,,, but legislators work for the people,,, we could be working on getting them to work for us,,,,, of course they don’t want to deal with it,,, better for them if we fight locally,,, and work on concensus…. and everybody is doing a good job of that,,,,,

        imaging a State like Wisconsin,,,where the labour unions are on strike,,,,they are the only money that can compete with the republicans,,,,, and they presntly have support of the majority of citizens,,, even school kids walked out in support of their teachers,,,, what if human rights could be joined to an action like that,,,,,, just imagining ,,,, a guy can dream ,,, those are views, and although not religious in anture they are being discriminated against,,,,,

        I love Wisconsin,,, and I love Michael Moore for opening his facebook page for school kids, so they could be involved in the process,, cause they are a group that are discriminated agains because of age,, he’s given them a space to speak out and be heard…..

        in my dream people don’t react to discrimination as it arises, one step here, another there,,,, (mind I’m not saying that’s bad, it’s actually working) it’s the part of me that smellls freedom that dreams of creating a situation that demands the whole country stand up,, pay attention and address the human rights infractions once and for all,,,, wonder what could get that kind of attention……and results…

  • 37. Kathleen  |  February 19, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    Hope no one minds if I post another reminder about James Robinson’s lgbt youth services and the Launchpad competition.

    James provides desperately needed services for LGBT youth in the area of Huntsville, Alabama. You can vote here–no registration needed, just an email address. And you can vote once every 24 hours. Launchpad will fund the top 5, so right now he’s in there, but a lot can happen in 7 days!

    And here’s the website for LGBT Advocacy and Services if you want to see what they do:

    • 38. Gregory in Salt Lake City  |  February 21, 2011 at 5:41 am

      Thank you for voting for your favorite idea…

  • 39. Ronnie  |  February 19, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    LOL….Maggie “Shoe Flinger” Gallagher gets completely owned in this Daily Kos piece….

    The Cold Heart of a Craven, Careless, Professional, Paid Propagandist,-Careless,-Professional,-Paid-Propagandist

    There is so much that can be pointed out…But I like this quote about what NOM is all about….

    “They devastate families, state budgets, the political, electoral and judicial systems without a care in the world and just move on to the next state.”

    (me) hmmmmmm…..<3…Ronnie

    • 40. Phil L  |  February 20, 2011 at 4:21 am

      I know! It was an amazing article!

      I shared it on my Facebook AND on a forum I frequent.

    • 41. Gregory in Salt Lake City  |  February 21, 2011 at 5:52 am

      tx for posting…I like all the links from article too!

  • 42. Kathleen  |  February 19, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    And I see Courage Campaign and P8TT get mentioned! Is that Anonygrl’s quote that’s mentioned?

    • 43. Ronnie  |  February 19, 2011 at 4:20 pm

      Yes, it is…high fives to Anonygrl!!!!!!…….<3…Ronnie

  • 44. John  |  February 19, 2011 at 9:16 pm

    Colorado SB 172 was introduced on Feb 14th:

    Summary: Establishes civil unions, recognizes marriages from outside of Colorado as civil unions, gives state rights to civil unions.

    My concerns: Let them marry, not union. That aside, also doesn’t allow common law domestic partnership (Colorado allows common law marriage). Common law domestic partnership would help a lot of trans people in heterosexual marriages where the state that married them has no case law yet (and, thus, their marriages could be at risk if a case goes the wrong way). Even better though would be to get rid of gender/sex requirements in marriage.

    The good: If it passed, people traveling through Colorado who were married would have the rights of married people in Colorado. That’s good.

    I doubt it will pass, but I hope I’m wrong. :(

    • 45. chris from co  |  February 19, 2011 at 10:34 pm

      : ) I’m excited and not counting us out yet. I want to get involved my mind is turning on a few thought’s how I can help if anyone has suggestions please give them to me. Colorado is a beautiful state it would be more beautiful if everyone had equality. Civil unions is just the stepping stone of marriage. I’m ready to get involved.

      • 46. John  |  February 20, 2011 at 8:51 am

        The next action on the Colorado bill will be:

        Monday, March 7, 1:30 PM, Old Supreme Court Chambers (Capitol Building), Senate Judiciary Committee.

        • 47. chris from co  |  February 20, 2011 at 11:21 pm

          Im ready

    • 48. Straight Dave  |  February 20, 2011 at 6:00 am

      This is how far we’ve come in a relatively short time:
      It was only in 2000 that Vermont rattled the country with it’s civil union law. No other state did anything for 3 more years. Now we are looking at civil unions as being fairly antiquated and unconstitutionally weak. In fact, a federal court has now ruled them to be inadequate.

      Illinois CU – ho hum, one more, a baby step.
      Hawaii CU – ho hum, one more, a baby step.

      Enjoy that, and keep moving forward. The pace has clearly accelerated.

      • 49. Sagesse  |  February 20, 2011 at 7:08 am

        Is it still a slippery slope when a half measure leads to a full measure… or does it have to lead to sex with shoes?

      • 50. karen in kalifornia  |  February 20, 2011 at 8:51 am

        Hawaii was a big deal last year to remind folks. It was a big fight to get CUs though the House and Senate. Repug Lingle vetoed it at the last moment leaving no time in the session for the legislature to over turn the veto. She claimed civil rights for all citizens was too important to be decided by a small group of people so she single handedly decided as a majority of one. It wasn’t quiet last year.

        The current Democrat Gov campaigned on equality. He will sign the bill next Wednesday.

  • 51. Ronnie  |  February 20, 2011 at 8:41 am

    Lesbian Teen’s Video to Fight Bullying

    “A Marietta, Ga., teenager comes out on YouTube and sends a powerful message that things get better”….From the article:

    “I consider myself to have gone through hell,” Belotserkovskaya said. “I want to show people that … as dark as things may seem, everything will get better. I really wanted to stress that. My story did have that happy ending.”

    Here is her video titled ” My Life is No Place for Hate”……<3…Ronnie:

    • 52. Richard A. Jernigan  |  February 20, 2011 at 5:46 pm

      Thank you, Ronnie! Typing through tears of joy over this young lady of Russian Jewish heritage who not only found acceptance, but is using her experience, strength and hope to teach others how to prevent bullying and learn that It Gets Better!

      • 53. Ronnie  |  February 23, 2011 at 5:21 pm

        You’re welcome, Richard…..<3…Ronnie


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