Monday, April 5, 2010

Unique Protest Calling for Marriage Equality

With same sex marriage now legal in our nation’s capital, I know many people who have decided to make the very short trip from Northern Virginia into DC in order to legally get married. As soon as they cross the Potomac on their way back to Virginia, however, they are in a state that refuses to recognize their relationship. LGBT activists aren‘t the only ones noticing this as the policy is also having an impact on the local economy. Businesses like Northrup Grumman, for instance, are taking the discriminatory policy into consideration while deciding whether or not they want to move their headquarters to Virginia.

Being able to get married just a few miles from your home while not having the marriage legally recognized in your home state is something that many LGBT couples are facing across the country now that there are a number of states that recognize same-sex marriage. Couples in Nebraska, for instance, can get married in Iowa even though Nebraska won’t recognize the marriage. In order to highlight how traveling such a short distance can result in people being stripped of their basic civil rights, protesters marched to Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge which connects the two states.
"We live in Omaha and we get no benefits," Brenner said. "We wanted to get married on the first day available and we want Nebraska to join with Iowa and make it happen."

"We pay taxes. We vote. We serve our country," said Beckstead. "I don't think Nebraska understood that we want to continue."

Supporters of same-sex marriage said they plan to continue to spread their message of equality and they hope others will listen.

"This is about civil rights, not religious rights," said JoAnne Palmer.
In a time when we see the Tea Party folks protesting by holding up hate filled signs and shouting slurs at members of Congress, it’s refreshing to actually hear about a protest where people are literally standing up for their right to have a loving, committed relationship recognized. I certainly hope we see a similar protest in the DC area using the walking lane on a bridge connecting DC and Virginia (perhaps the Key Bridge).

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