SIT IN 4 EQUALITY NETWORK / MARRIAGE COUNTER SIT-INS FOR EQUAL MARRIAGE RIGHTS NATIONWIDE We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
NATIONAL CALL TO ACTION:
NATIONAL MARRIAGE COUNTER SIT-IN FOR MARRIAGE EQUALITY
Gay Recruiters, in Bloomington Indiana, having been profoundly inspired by the courageous actions of our brothers, sisters and straight allies at the Marriage Clerk sit-ins in Denver and San Diego on May 26th and 27th and Chicago on Valentine’s Day, staged a very successful Marriage Counter Sit-in for Marriage Equality in Bloomington, Indiana on Thursday July 2nd 2009 (also see: here and here).
In honor of the 40th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots; in memory of our great LGBT civil rights movement leaders* Harvey Milk, Del Martin, and Barbara Gittings; and in tribute to our current living legends of the LGBT civil rights movement*, Frank Kameny and Phyllis Lyon (*and others too numerous to mention!) – we urge our LGBT brothers and sisters along with our Straight Allies to respond to our National Call to Action during the week of June 29th entitled:
Groups in Reno and Las Vegas Nevada joined our call to action. (Thank You, Reno and Las Vegas!)
Now that that historic Stonewall Anniversary week has concluded…we ENVISION Marriage Counter Sit-ins for Equality continuing NATIONWIDE until we have secured Marriage Equality FEDERALLY! We believe this is the best means to keep the cause of Marriage Equality in the national spotlight and we encourage you to organize a sit-in in your city!
While we, at Gay Recruiters, believe strongly in the Dallas Principles as a broad outline for the unremitting and uncompromising struggle for our complete and inherent civil rights on par with all other Americans, we additionally feel that peaceful nonviolent civil disobedience as practiced by Gandhi, Martin Luther King, César Chávez, Rosa Parks - and many others whose memory we so deeply revere - is necessary to obtain our FULL civil rights. We find this especially true in a period of stagnation and backsliding such as we are experiencing all too clearly in today’s headlines which finds the President we so overwhelmingly supported, President Obama, now supporting DOMA.
While we believe that respectful, dialogue and discourse has a key place in our fight, we believe - as MLK did - that our struggle will unnecessarily persist for many more years without the concomitant use of peaceful nonviolent civil disobedience. The decades have proven these methods - courageously practiced by our predecessors - to have been the correct complement to public discourse. Now OUR moment has arrived. In emulating our heroes of history, Destiny now leads us to honor their courage with our own! For those who feel this is the wrong tactic, we urge you to study the inspirational words of Martin Luther King which he issued in his Letter from Birmingham Jail. In these relevant excerpts, we have found truths for the ages which inspire us in our national call to action:
“You may well ask: "Why direct action? Why sit-ins, marches and so forth? Isn't negotiation a better path?" You are quite right in calling, for negotiation. Indeed, this is the very purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks to so dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored….we must we see the need for nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood…
“The purpose of our direct-action program is to create a situation so crisis-packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation…
“…My friends, I must say to you that we have not made a single gain civil rights without determined legal and nonviolent pressure. Lamentably, it is an historical fact that privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily…
“…We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct-action campaign that was "well timed" in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word "Wait!" It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This "Wait" has almost always meant "Never." We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that "justice too long delayed is justice denied…
“…One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that "an unjust law is no law at all…
“…I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate….who constantly says: "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action"; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a "more convenient season." Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection…
“…One day the South will know that when these disinherited children of God sat down at lunch counters, they were in reality standing up for what is best in the American dream …thereby bringing our nation back to those great wells of democracy which were dug deep by the founding fathers in their formulation of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.”
We believe this is the perfect time to celebrate and honor the 40th Anniversary year of the Stonewall by staging a historic nationwide protest for Marriage Equality.
Sisters, Brothers and Allies, we know we have many battles ahead of us – but we feel Marriage Equality is a paramount civil rights cause in our struggle for full equal rights. We can do it! We believe in the incredible organizing potential of our community powered by the unquenched thirst for our full civil rights under the law!
We feel magic in the air! We feel Destiny calling us to be part of this historic moment -OUR moment - in history. Now is the time, as we were told by our “fierce advocate in Chief”, for those who've been told for so long by so many to be cynical and fearful and doubtful about what we can achieve to put our hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.
Now is our time for FULL equality under the law. Not later, not next year, not next decade – NOW is our magic moment in history.
So we ask you - across the nation in your town or city - to GET BUSY NOW planning your own Marriage Counter Sit-in for Marriage Equality in the best traditions of Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, César Chávez and the lunch counter sit-ins of the 50’s and 60’s!
For those who believe such a nationwide campaign is impossible, we can only invoke the words of Margaret Mead:
“Never doubt that a small group of people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
Just a cliché? This call for a National Campaign of Marriage Counter Sit-ins began on Facebook after the Day of Decision protests as just one voice in a sea of silence in answer to the question “what next?” It immediately grew to be a dream of our local group, and now - just two weeks later - it’s being brought to the national stage. And with your dedication and help the dream will fly – becoming part of the great history of our relentless struggle for FULL LGBT equal rights.
Brothers, Sisters, Allies...JOIN US! Grasp OUR rainbow arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day!
Please visit nonviolence4equality.org for more information about peaceful nonviolent civil disobedience and how to plan and organize your action.
Linda Giovanna Zambanini, Co-founder, Organizer, Gay Recruiters, Bloomington, IN
"For many years now, I have been an outspoken supporter of civil and human rights for gay and lesbian people," King said at the 25th Anniversary Luncheon for the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund.... "Gays and lesbians stood up for civil rights in Montgomery, Selma, in Albany, Ga. and St. Augustine, Fla., and many other campaigns of the Civil Rights Movement," she said. "Many of these courageous men and women were fighting for my freedom at a time when they could find few voices for their own, and I salute their contributions."
- Coretta Scott King, Chicago Tribune quote, April 1, 1998
Couple arrested for second time after same-sex marriage protest
Posted on August 3, 2012 at 6:29 AM
Beau Chandler and his partner, Mark "Major" Jiminez, went to the Crowley Courts Building to apply for a marriage license Thursday. When they were denied, they began the sit-in.
DALLAS - Police arrested a man for the second time in two months for trespassing after he and his partner staged a sit-in at a county courts building.
Beau Chandler and his partner, Mark "Major" Jiminez, went to the Crowley Courts Building to apply for a marriage license Thursday. When they were denied, they began the sit-in. Jiminez was arrested at the end of the day.
"How is our marriage going to affect your life?" Jiminez said. "When you're sitting down to the dinner table, how is the fact that we're married going to affect your life, at all? It's not! So why are you worried about it?"
Chandler and Jiminez were arrested in early July after handcuffing themselves together in the Dallas County Clerk Records Building. Thursday was their initial hearing in the case from July. After leaving the hearing, they returned to the marriage counter.
Dallas Gay Man's Protest of Marriage Laws Once Again Ends in Arrest
Mark "Major" Jiminez and Beau Chandler, before their arrest last month.
It's been almost a month since Beau Chandler and Mark "Major" Jiminez walked into the Dallas County Records building to apply for a marriage license. Chandler and Jiminez being men, and this being Texas, they were denied, but the couple had the foresight to bring handcuffs, which they placed on their wrists before sitting down in the middle of the room. They they stayed until the building closed, and they were arrested for criminal trespass.
After their first court appearance yesterday morning, they returned to the Records Building, where straight people get and gay people get denied marriage licenses. Jiminez again brought handcuffs, which he attached to the queue rope in protest of four same-sex couples who were denied marriage licenses. Again, he was arrested for criminal trespass. Chandler remained unshackled so he could pay his partner's bail money, according to the Dallas Voice.
According to the Facebook page created for the original protest, Jiminez was released from jail at about 1:30 a.m.
Couples have 1st court hearing while supporters stage sit-in, march for marriage equality
PERP WALK | Mark “Major” Jiminez was arrested for criminal trespass again after refusing to leave the Dallas County Records Building when he and his partner Beau Chandler were denied a marriage license. (David Taffet/Dallas Voice)
DAVID TAFFET | Staff Writer
Four couples applied for marriage licenses in Dallas on Aug. 2 and after they were denied, one person was arrested for criminal trespass.
Supporters of Mark “Major” Jiminez and Beau Chandler marched from the County Records Building to the Crowley Courts building at 7 a.m. before the first hearings for the couple charged with criminal trespass in a July 5 arrest.
After the hearings, more than 20 supporters returned to the Dallas County Records Building where four couples including Jiminez and Chandler applied for licenses. Each couple was told, “I cannot issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.”
Mackenzie Lechtenberg said she applied for a license with Elizabeth Clinton to show support for equality. She said she is straight and engaged to a man.
“I feel horrible that the people I love are denied rights just because they’re a different sexual orientation than I am,” she said.
Julie Van Zandt is a lesbian who also tried to get married.
“It’s ridiculous for people to tell me who I can love,” Van Zandt said. “It’s stupid we have to do this in 2012.”
After each of the couples was denied, they sat in the line but were told by building security to move behind the entry.
“They put us at the back of the bus,” Jiminez said. “Out on the muffler.”
While the rest of the group sat behind the line, Jiminez handcuffed himself to the pole at the front of the line.
He could have been arrested for blocking a passage, but Dallas police LGBT liaison Sr. Cpl. Laura Martin said that as long as people could get through, he wouldn’t be arrested for that. Instead, deputies waited until 4:30 p.m. when the building closed and again arrested Jiminez for criminal trespass.
Earlier in the day, Jiminez and Chandler made their first court appearances for the July 5 arrest. Neither was asked to enter a plea. Their cases are assigned to separate courts but they will probably be moved to the same court but with separate trial dates. Chandler’s next court date is Sept. 26 and Jiminez’s is Aug. 23.
Attorney Dax Garvin called this first appearance a cattle call. He said this was mostly procedural so the judge would know attorneys have been retained and to set a date for the defendants to enter a plea and the district attorney to offer any plea deals.
Attorneys and the couple agreed that they would both plead not guilty.
Garvin is an Austin attorney who is also defending three people charged during a similar protest at the Travis County courthouse on Valentine’s Day.
Kim Butler is a Fort Worth attorney who deals with LGBT family issues with a specialty in criminal misdemeanor cases.
Jiminez and Chandler waited outside the courtrooms wearing white ribbons as their attorneys spoke to the judges in the cases. The ribbons are part of the white knot campaign.
“We should be able to tie the knot,” Chandler said.
After coming out of the courtroom, Garvin said the actual charges had still not been filed.
As news crews interviewed the couple in the corridor, support among other people waiting for other cases grew.
“My brother is trying to marry his partner and having trouble,” said Gloria Parr, a woman carrying her baby.
She hugged the couple and told them that her brother and his partner had been together for years. They live in Waco.
As Chandler and Jiminez walked toward the escalator together holding hands, she said, “That’s so sweet.”
Others voiced support as the couple left the court and expressed shock that they faced up to six months in jail and a $2,000 fine.
While the couple was in court, protesters lined Riverfront Boulevard in front of the Crowley Courts building holding marriage equality signs.
Keith Campbell traveled from Philadelphia for the protest.
“In my opinion, 180 days is an unjust sentence for civil disobedience,” Campbell said.
Dusty Mathews came from Odessa to support the couple. He said he was involved in a marriage equality rally in his hometown last year and also wanted to show support.
A Boy Scout in full uniform waved a Pride flag in front of the Crowley Courts building.
Clinton McBride said he was an Eagle Scout from the Circle 10 Council in northeast Texas and Oklahoma. He earned the rank of Eagle Scout in 2009 and said he was not gay, just protesting. He said he wasn’t particularly concerned if the Boy Scouts decide to throw him out.
“If they want to do that, it’s their choice,” he said.
Boy Scouts Spokesman Deron Smith said the organization doesn’t have a policy or opinion on gay marriage so any member who appears at a rally would be expressing a personal opinion.
He said the Scouts have a policy about political rallies for wearing the uniform for a presentation of colors, not partaking in the rally. Since the
Scout was an employee at a camp, Smith said it would become an employee issue that could be taken up with a local branch for discussion and possible discipline.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 3, 2012.
CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE | A Dallas County sheriff’s deputy leads Beau Chandler to a patrol car after he was arrested at the Clerk’s Office on Thursday. Chandler and Mark Jiminez applied for a marriage license but were denied. View more photos and watch video at DallasVoice.com. (Anna Waugh/Dallas Voice)
Gay Dallas couple Mark Jiminez, Beau Chandler arrested after being denied marriage license at Clerk’s Office in Independence Day protest
DAVID TAFFET | Staff Writer
Gay couple Mark “Major” Jiminez and Beau Chandler were arrested at the Dallas County Clerk’s Office on Thursday afternoon, July 5, after they were denied a marriage license and refused to leave.
The couple entered the County Records Building at about 3 p.m. with friends, TV crews and friendly police in tow.
“City police, county sheriffs and building security are all here,” Chandler said. “Nice to get their support.”
Although he was joking, most of the people the couple encountered in the building were supportive, even if they were unable to issue the license.
Sr. Cpl. Laura Martin, LGBT liaison officer for the Dallas Police Department, accompanied the group, even though she didn’t have direct jurisdiction since they were in a county building. Lt. Shelley Knight, LGBT liaison for the sheriff’s department, also followed the couple.
“I told them if they want to smoke, do it before going upstairs,” Martin said. “And have a full belly.”
Martin said the couple could be held overnight, depending upon how backed up the magistrate was.
“They’re the nicest couple,” Martin said of Chandler and Jiminez. “They’re the first guys after any protest to come up and thank the officers.”
It was unclear at press time what charge would be filed against the couple. Last week, a sheriff’s spokesman indicated the pair likely would be charged with criminal trespass, a class-B misdemeanor. The penalty for that is up to 180 days in jail and a maximum $2,000 fine.
Once in the license bureau on Thursday afternoon, Chandler and Jiminez filled out the paperwork. Chandler crossed out the word “bride” and wrote “not applicable.”
Before being called to the counter, the couple sat waiting next to a straight couple also applying for a license. Jiminez explained to them why they were there, and the couple wished them luck.
“God bless you,” Regina Johnson said to Jiminez and Chandler. “Good luck. You’re in our prayers.”
Clerk’s assistant Melinda Saavedra called Jiminez and Chandler and asked for their IDs. She checked to make sure one wasn’t there as a proxy.
“We pointed out subsection B that invalidates all marriages,” Chandler said. He was referring to the constitutional amendment that bans same-sex marriage in Texas. “She got teary-eyed when I said we love each other and want to get married.”
After being refused a license, the couple handcuffed themselves to each other and sat on the floor at the head of the line. Jiminez spoke on camera to TV news outlets explaining some of the more than 1,000 rights straight couples enjoy that are denied to gay and lesbian couples.
“This is about not being treated equal,” he said.
Jiminez said that the couple plans to get married on Sept. 13 and participate in Dallas’ gay Pride parade on Sept. 16.
He said their mothers and other family members would be attending their wedding and hoped they could stay to ride in a car in the parade with them.
The sign they plan to post on the car will read, “Just married, but not legal.”
Chandler said the idea for the protest came after the couple became engaged.
“He proposed the end of May,” Chandler said. “He made breakfast and I was eating pancakes and found a ring inside. He asked if I would be his husband.”
He said that the couple thought of going to another state to marry but decided there was no point if the marriage would just be void as soon as they got home.
“We spoke to our friend Daniel [Cates] with GetEQUAL, and he suggested we make a statement,” Chandler said. “And we decided it needed to be the day after Independence Day.”
At 4:30 p.m., the building was closed and everyone, including media, was instructed to leave.
The couple was not arrested until everyone else had left the office. When they came down the elevator, they were no longer handcuffed to each other but were handcuffed individually, each escorted by two sheriff’s deputies.
They were placed in separate squad cars and taken to Lew Sterrett for processing as their friends and supporters lined the sidewalk and applauded.
Martin Griffin came to the Records Building with his partner, Dillon Brown. He said they were doing this for every same-sex couple.
“We are all equal and should have the same rights,” Griffin said.
Activist Cd Kirven said, “This is the first time this has happened in Dallas. It’s historic.”
“You’re making history,” one friend shouted after the couple as the sheriff’s vehicles pulled away.
Mark Jiminez and Beau Chandler applied for a marriage license at the Dallas County Clerk's Office to mark Independence Day on July 5, 2012. After they were denied, they sat for more than an hour until they were arrested for trespassing for refusing to leave without a license. (Anna Waugh/Dallas Voice)
Couple arrested after gay marriage protest in records building
WFAA Posted on July 5, 2012 at 7:12 PM
DALLAS - Two gay men were arrested Thursday in Dallas after handcuffing themselves together in the county records building downtown.
Beau Chandler and his partner, Mark "Major" Jiminez, went to the Dallas County Clerk Records Building to apply for a marriage license. When they were turned down, they handcuffed themselves together and refused to leave.
"We live in a land where we're all supposed to be created equal, and by them denying us our marriage, we are not created equal," Jiminez said.
Sheriff's deputies arrested Beau Chandler, left, and Mark Jiminez. They will likely face misdemeanor charges of criminal trespass.
A Dallas couple was arrested Thursday after they tried to get a marriage license.
Mark Jiminez and Beau Chandler were quickly turned down when they tried applying for a marriage license at the Dallas County Clerk's Office.
Instead of exchanging vows, the two vowed to sit inside the county clerk's office.
"We don't think that's fair so we're going to sit here until they give us a marriage license," Jimenez said right after they were turned down.
He and Chandler then handcuffed themselves to each other and sat on the floor.
"By them denying us our marriage, we're not created equal, we're not being treat equal -- even though we've worked our whole lives, pay taxes our whole lives," Jiminez said.
The group GetEQUAL TX posted bail for Jiminez and Chandler.
Texas voters approved a same-sex marriage ban in 2005. Only six states and the District of Columbia allow sex-marriage. Three other states have passed bills this year, but two face referendums in the fall and a state governor vetoed another state's bill.
ASHEVILLE, NC (FOX Carolina)--Gay couples in Buncombe County voiced their disapproval with a recently passed constitutional amendment in North Carolina during a sit-in Friday.
Amendment One passed by a wide margin during the state's primary election Tuesday. The amendment defined the only legal domestic union in the state as between one man and one woman.
On Friday, 20 gay couples from across the Asheville area walked into the county's Register of Deeds and applied for a marriage license.
"We've been a couple for 30 years," said one of the couples. "We've raised two daughters and have four grandchildren."
All of them knew they would be turned away.
"According to North Carolina state law, and now, the North Carolina Constitution, we're going to deny you all's request for a marriage license today," Register of Deeds Drew Reisinger told one of the couples.
Despite turning them away, Reisinger said it is not something he enjoys doing.
"It breaks your heart to deny people the same rights that you grant other people all day long," Reisinger said.
Eight people took a seat in front of the counter - a non-violent way of showing their disapproval of the new law. All eight of them were arrested and charged with second-degree trespassing.
"By being arrested, we bring attention to the fact that this inequality is going on," said Susan Walton, a protester. "If that's what it takes, that's what we'll do."
"We want people to know that we're a loving group," said Amy Cantrell, another protester. "We're standing up not only for equality, but (also) equality for all our neighbors."
Buncombe County was the only county in the state's mountain region, and only one of nine statewide, that voted against the controversial amendment.
Same-Sex Marriage Protestors Sit-In Register Of Deeds Office
8:06 AM, May 13, 2012
Asheville, NC -- Some same-sex couples in North Carolina continue to protest the state's new constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman.
About 20 couples staged a sit-in at the Buncombe County Register of Deeds Friday. They applied for marriage licenses, which they are already denied under existing state law.
Police eventually arrested eight people for trespassing and refusing to leave the office. Officers gave them a citation and released them.
LGBT Couples Across North Carolina Say "We Do"
In 8 towns and cities across North Carolina, 38 LGBT couples and hundreds of supporters stood up calling for full equality under federal law. Together, we made it clear that Amendment One's passage was not the end of the story. In fact, we're just getting started with this movement calling for full equality under federal law. Give today at southernequality.org/donate and help us grow the WE DO Campaign across the South.
Lesbian Arrested After Seeking Marriage License In North Carolina
Forsyth County sheriff's deputies arrest Mary Lee Bradford of Winston-Salem and Mary Jamis of Mocksville after they refused to leave at the Forsyth County Register of Deeds office in Winston-Salem, N.C., Thursday, May 10, 2012. The two women staged a sit in at the office after some couples were refused a marriage license because they were gay or lesbian. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone)
Mary Jamis, 52, a lesbian who attempted to obtain a marriage license in North Carolina on Thursday, was arrested along with a heterosexual friend for refusing to leave a government office. Several other gay couples showed up that day in an attempt to get marriage licenses too. It was all part of a protest following the passage of the state's Amendment One, a ban that not only bars gay marriages but any type of civil union.
"A county administrator tried to talk the women into leaving and avoiding arrest, but the two insisted they would stay unless Jamis was issued a marriage license for her and her partner, Starr Johnson, 48," reports Associated Press. After she refused to budge, a "half dozen female officers" surrounded Jamis and arrested her. (Aside: Smart move by the NC cops; they know the optics of male cops arresting a lesbian who just want to marry would look pretty bad.) She and her pal were charged with second-degree trespass, and released without bond.
In addition to harming health benefits for unwed couples and affecting domestic violence laws in the state, North Carolina's gay marriage ban did have one positive repercussion: President Barack Obama publicly declaring his support for same-sex marriage, a first for a sitting U.S. president.
Meanwhile, North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue isn't thrilled with the voter-approved Amendment One. After a reporter from WITN-TV in Washington, Perdue told her that folks around the country are watching the state and are confused, because North Carolina had been comparatively a progressive, the governor worries that people will look down on the state. "People around the country are watching us, and they're really confused to have been such a progressive forward thinking economically driven state that invested in education and that stood up for the civil rights people including the civil rights marches back in the 50s and 60s and 70s," explained Perdue, adding the following final touch, "People are saying what in the world is going on with North Carolina, we look like Mississippi."
Lesbian Seeking Marriage License Arrested in NC
Nine gay couples turned away from registry office
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted May 11, 2012 2:13 AM CDT
A couple holding two children are refused a marriage license at the Forsyth County Register of Deeds office in Winston-Salem. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone)
A same-sex couple attempts to obtain a marriage license at the Forsyth County Register of Deeds office in Winston-Salem. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone)
Mary Lee Bradford of Winston-Salem, left, Mary Jamis of Mocksville, center and Christine Regan of Winston-Salem stage a sit-in at the Forsyth County Register of Deeds office. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone)
(Newser) – A lesbian who refused to leave a North Carolina government office without a wedding license was taken away in handcuffs yesterday after what organizers say was the first of many protests against the state's newly passed gay marriage ban. After a march through downtown Winston-Salem, nine gay and lesbian couples—some of them with their children—presented completed forms and identification to the local Register of Deeds office but were refused a license, reports AP.
"My wife and I have been together for nine years," one woman told the clerk after asking him to write "denied" on the application form. "We have been together through a natural disaster—we came from New Orleans. We have been together from the day we met each other, unwavering. And one day, I hope that you guys will accept us." Mary Jamis, 52, and a heterosexual friend were arrested, and charged with second-degree trespass after staging a sit-in when Jamis was denied a marriage license.
Sit In at Travis County Clerk's Office #occupylove
A Sit In begins at the Travis County Clerks Office for equal marriage rights while the Travis County Clerk looks on in support (woman in red suit).
GetEqualTX along with the 1st Unitarian Church and the Occupy Austin OccuQueers staged a protest Feb 14, 2012 at the Travis County Clerk's Office. Same sex couples attempted to get marriage licenses & then some got married outside.
AUSTIN (KXAN) - Tuesday morning dozens of same-sex couples showed up at the Travis County Clerk’s Office trying to get marriage licenses.
GetEQUAL TX organized the annual Valentine's Day event to raise awareness about the desire by many to be legally married.
Many of the couples walked into the clerk’s office hand-in-hand.
Constables later arrested three people who were obstructing the hallway to the clerk's office at the location on Airport Boulevard.
Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir explained to each couple that the state of Texas did not give her the ability to offer a marriage license.
“Perhaps in the future I could issue a marriage license, but until that day I’m afraid I have to turn you down,” explained DeBeauvoir to a same-sex couple asking for a marriage license.
After the final couple was denied, DeBeauvoir walked away only to hide her tears.
“It’s difficult to watch people come in and be denied something that can be achieved by some couples but not others,” said DeBeauvoir.
Couples like Marcus Gonzales and Hank Robinson, who have been together 11 years, said it just doesn't make sense to them as to they can't get legally married.
“We share property together, we own and operate a business together here in Central Texas, so we ultimately believe this is our right,” said Gonzales.
Tiffani Bishop said she hopes this group will come back to the clerk’s office every month to try and get a marriage license to demonstrate its importance.
“There are over 1,138 rights and privileges that we have no access to that my sister, brother and parents have access to,” said Bishop.
After the final couple was denied a license, several people sat down on the floor and sang songs about marriage.
The Travis County Clerk said the county does offer a same-sex registry for couples. That way, companies that do offer insurance for same-sex couples have a way of seeing that.
Texas LGBT activists arrested for occupying county clerk’s office
By Stephen C. Webster RAW STORY
Tuesday, February 14, 2012 14:24 EDT
AUSTIN, TEXAS — Taking their cues from the local “Occupy” movement, three LGBT activists in Austin allowed themselves to be arrested Tuesday morning during an annual marriage equality protest at the Travis County Clerk’s office.
Instead of the usual parade of LGBT activists applying for marriage licenses on Valentine’s Day, about 40 people representing a coalition of groups showed up outside the offices of Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir on Tuesday morning, including members of Occupy Austin.
Ronnie Garza, an organizer with Occupy Austin, explained that the alliance was a natural one because he believes “everyone should have the right to marry who they love.” Although organized by GetEQUAL Texas, the event marked the beginning of Occupy Austin’s efforts to collaborate with other area activists and send members to their events.
Turns out the gesture didn’t go unnoticed.
Two LGBT activists participate in a unity ceremony on Feb. 14, 2012 in Austin, Texas. Photo: Stephen C. Webster.
As couples walked up a pair at a time to have their requests for marriage licenses denied, DeBeauvoir faithfully carried out her legal duty of denying the requests and personally calling to apologize. She openly empathized with the couples applying for licenses, even putting an arm around one woman who began to cry.
That’s when three LGBT activists — Iana DiBona, Tiffani Bishop and Brittney Tobar — decided to lock arms and sit down, staging their own occupation in the name of love and equality.
This was not planned, according to GetEQUAL TX organizer Michael Diviesti, who seemed surprised at the development.
Then, the women began to sing: “I’m gonna stand at the marriage counter / I’m gonna stand at the marriage counter, one of these days / I’m gonna stand at the marriage counter / I’m gonna stand at the marriage counter, one of these days. I’m gonna slow dance at my wedding / I’m gonna slow dance at my wedding, one of these days / I’m gonna slow dance at my wedding / I’m gonna slow dance at my wedding, one of these days.”
Two verses in, the whole group of activists began clapping along like an impromptu church service.
DeBeauvoir, who’d stood by watching the whole time, appeared beside herself at the display.
“This is the first time I’ve been occupied,” she told Raw Story. “So, we’re gonna do what we can to leave them right where they are. We’ll work around them… But, I’m not quite sure what to do. They didn’t coordinate with me about the occupy stuff, so I want to visit with the organizers to see how we deal with the situation.”
She walked over to speak with the women on the floor, then spoke to Diviesti, then returned to the women. “We plan to stay until [closing time] or later,” Bishop remarked.
Austin County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir, calling authorities to arrest activists occupying her office. Photo: Stephen C. Webster.
DeBeauvoir knelt down in front of the group and explained that they were welcome to stay until closing, at which point they would be removed — or, she said, “we could just do this thing right now while the reporters are still here.”
Eyeing nearby reporters, DeBeauvoir leaned a bit closer to the protesters and lowered her voice: “But what I’m suggesting is, why don’t you do it now and get it on camera? I mean, I’m trying to have… For you to get the maximum message here. So, what I’m thinking is, maybe we need to do it now?”
The activists agreed, so the county clerk stepped out into the hallway and picked up a phone. On a call with deputies, she commented that “the occupy movement is here,” and specifically asked that police come take the women out, but give them “the least charge possible.”
Moments later, five deputies stepped in and cuffed the women, ushering them to police cars waiting outside, even as a purely symbolic unity ceremony was taking place in the parking lot.
“We wish the law was different, but until it is I’m bound by the laws of the state and will not break the law,” DeBeauvoir told Raw Story. “One of these days, I hope that all couples have the same civil rights.”
Photo credit: Stephen C. Webster
Marriage Equality Sit-In San Francisco 2011
Video montage of the marriage equality sit-in action at San Francisco City Hall on Valentine's Day 2011 by Marriage Equality USA and GetEqual.
Video by: Sean Chapin
18 people detained during SF marriage protest
SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Eighteen people were put in handcuffs and detained by sheriff's deputies in San Francisco Monday afternoon after a sit-in at the county clerk's office. The act of civil disobedience was carried out by gay and lesbian couples to protest same-sex marriage bans in California and other states.
For the past 10 years on this day of love, gay and lesbian couples apply for marriage licenses to protest the state's ban on same-sex marriage. This time in San Francisco the demonstrators decided to kick it up a notch.
It was a tactic out of the 1960s; the protesters sat down to take a stand.
"We are law abiding individuals and its painful and challenging to do this," Molly McKay of Marriage Equality USA said. "We've been coming here for 10 years. We have to stand up for love and equality."
Eighteen people were taken away in handcuffs by the sheriff's deputies
One supporter of the ban on same-sex marriage says people have the right to protest, but marriage should be off limits for gays and lesbians.
"The reality of marriage is that it unites a man and a woman with each other and any children from their marriage, that's what marriage is," Bill May of Catholics for the Common Good said.
There were also heterosexual newlyweds who support sharing the right.
"They finally found their own true love and finally they cannot get married; we are upset, yeah," newlywed Cindy Vong said.
Only once in San Francisco were the couples successful. In 2004, then Mayor Gavin Newsom had the clerk proceed. Those weddings were later invalidated and were the start of a legal battle that continues today.
One couple came all the way from Galveston, Texas to take part in what the gay community calls "Freedom to Marry Day." They did not get a license, but consider their citation a Valentine's Day memento.
December 6, 2010 - After girls' soccer coach, Lisa Howe, was fired for coming out, students and alumni from Belmont were outraged by the University's decision. GLBT student organization, Bridge Builders, organized a sit-in out side Belmont University President Bob Fisher's office Monday morning.
San Diego County wastes big bucks, sends 50 riot-clad deputies to arrest nine protesters
Photo credit: SignOnSanDiego.com Protester Brian Baumgardner is handcuffed after being arrested during a sit-in for Gay Marriage at the County Clerk's office
SAN DIEGO – At a time when the County of San Diego is plagued with fiscal challenges, more than 50 sheriff's deputies, many dressed in full riot gear, were deployed to the County Assessor/Recorder/County Clerk Office downtown, to disperse nine peaceful protesters.
The controversy began promptly at 8 a.m. on the second floor, where marriage licenses are issued.
Tony and Tyler Dylan-Hyde, the local couple who had scored the first appointment to get a marriage license this morning before the appeals court issued a stay that halts gay wedding until at least December, arrived dressed in suits and ties to honor their 8 a.m. appointment.
At that time, about 10 deputies were on duty, dressed in their regular uniforms, asking the roughly 30 people gathered by the door to keep the hallway clear.
Flanked by media cameras, the Dylan-Hydes were kindly stopped before they could enter the office. A spokeswomen for the county informed them that unfortunately, due to the law changes, their appointment has been canceled.
Tyler, who is an attorney, informed the spokeswoman that they did not agree with the Ninth District Court of Appeal’s decision to stay gay marriages, and that they both felt Judge Vaughn Walker’s ruling, as well as the statements issued by California’s Governor and Attorney General, should be enough for county officials to issue marriage licenses.
The spokeswoman said she understood their opinion but that as long as the stay was in place, there was nothing she could do and that she has to follow the law.
At that point, Tyler said that the county had an oath to follow California law, and that the Ninth District Court of Appeals had not set aside Judge Walker’s ruling that declared California's Proposition 8 to be unconstitutional. Additionally, Tyler said the stay did not prevent or prohibit the office from issuing marriage licenses.
Several times they requested to obtain a marriage license, but she budged from the doorway only to momentarily step inside and return with a printed version of the Ninth District Court of Appeal’s ruling on the stay.
There was a brief exchange about whether or not the stay actually prohibited the issuance of licenses, but in the end, the Dylan-Hydes, who have been together for 15 years, were unsuccessful in persuading her. So they asked to speak directly with David Butler, the County Clerk.
While they waited, they addressed the crowd and said they were there for all couples who could not be there.
“When you look at the stay, it’s really about the federal state telling the State of California to act,” Tyler said. “It’s a matter of California law, and the County, like all officials, has taken an oath to abide by the state’s constitution.”
Within a few minutes, Butler stepped into the hallway and caused momentary media frenzy as he escorted the Dylan-Hydes to the second- floor foyer to avoid blocking the entrance.
At this point, several members of San Diego Alliance for Marriage Equality (SAME) and other marriage-equality supporters began chanting “Do the right thing” and various other comments as Butler explained to the Dylan-Hydes that, unfortunately, issuing them a marriage license was not something he could allow.
“We believe that county officials and the Attorney General have the authority and obligation to allow marriage licenses to proceed based on both the federal court's findings that Prop. 8 is unconstitutional - and the Governor's and Attorney General's filings in the Prop. 8 cases,” Tyler explained to Butler.
Again, Tyer made the same remarks about the county’s obligation to uphold the state’s constitution, and that there was nothing prohibiting the county from doing so.
Butler stood his ground however, stated that he respected their opinion and that he would present the material the Dylan-Hydes had brought with them to the full council. (View the letter given to the County Clerk HERE)
At this point, a female couple standing against the wall wiped away tears, while several in the crowd booed and others yelled “Do the right thing!”
The other couple in attendance were Michael Anderson and Brian Baumgardner, who have been together for nine years and wish to get married. Joined by friends and SAME supporters, they headed back down the hall to attempt to enter the Recorder’s office and get a licnese.
One supporter, identified as Mike, attempted to go through the door, but a Sheriff standing inside quickly shut it and two others were on hand to make sure he did not enter.
At this point, the group started chanting, “No marriage licenses, No peace! No justice, no peace!” and one person loudly proclaimed that if Michael and Brian could not get married than no one else could either.
Four people sat arm in arm blocking the side entrance, and five others did the same at the main entrance.
“Gay, straight, black, white; marriage is a civil right,” they chanted in unison, joined by several in the crowd. “No equality, No peace!”
“It’s the court’s choice do the right thing!” they chanted repeatedly. “We are ready, si se puede, to married, si se puede – separate is NOT equal.”
As they began chanting “David Butler do the right thing” more Sheriffs filed into the hall. They stood silently while one of them walked up and down the hall video taping the protestors and everyone else in the hallway.
For about an hour, the protesters chanted, sang hymns from the women’s and civil-rights movements.
During this time, three straight couples attempted to enter the office presumably for their own marriage licenses, and with the help of the deputies, they squeezed through or stepped over those sitting by the doors.
About 9:30 a.m., one deputy stood leaning against a wall holding dozens of zip cuffs in his hand while a group of deputies convened behind him and discussed how to proceed.
Within a few minutes, a group of five deputies approached the four protesters by the side entrance. One deputy bent down and informed them that if they did not move out of the way they would be arrested. The protesters remained seated and the two females sitting in the middle were lifted up by deputies and placed in zip cuffs. At this point, the scene became chaotic.
The media gathered around those being arrested while deputies attempted to build a wall between everyone else and those being arrested. The two others who remained seated on the ground attempted to scoot close together, but two deputies stood immediately between them. The one male from this group was arrested next, but the fourth was left alone as a group of deputies convened down the hall.
About 10 minutes went by, when the deputy in charge asked all officers in the hallway to join them in the foyer. At this point, another 20 deputies in riot gear waiting for their orders.
Two of the protesters blocking the main entrance joined the remaining protester at the side door and they resumed their chants.
About 10 a.m., a female deputy, standing in front of what at this point was close to 50 deputies in riot gear, spoke through a megaphone.
She told the crowd that anyone not wishing to be arrested had five minutes to disperse. Several left at this point, but the protesters remained seated.
True to their word, within five minutes, the first group of deputites marched single file down the hall. The media was ordered to remain on the left while those marching down the hall created a wall between cameras and the protesters.
In groups of four, deputies began approaching each of the remaining protesters and proceeded to place them into zip cuffs.
Anderson yelled for all to hear, that it was a waste of taxpayer money, that they should be ashamed of themselves, before being placed into zip cuffs and led down the hall.
There deputies in riot gear, one with a sniper rifle at his side, standing by the first and second floor stairways. Each protester was escorted by two deputies down into the basement.
Once outside, it was evident that Sheriff's Department had spared no expense in arresting these nine peaceful protesters.
A 65-passenger sheriff's bus was waiting by the building loading dock. Two deputies brought out shackles and metal cuffs and proceeded inside.
Within a span of roughly 30 minutes, the protesters were brought out three groups of two, and one group of three. In each incident, there were four deputies escorting the protesters onto the bus.
About 10 marriage equality supporters remained and they waved rainbow flags and chanted cheers of support, such as “Civil rights heroes, let them go!”
The protesters smiled in appreciation, and some held up peace signs. They were shackled around the waist to each other as well as handcuffed to each other.
A smaller white van proceeded to escort the bus onto the street, and the nine non-violent offenders were driven away from the county building, while many employees stood watching from the windows.
Reported by Cynthia Schweigert
WKBT La Crosse, WI-NewsChannel 8 - LINK
LA CROSSE, Wis.- Acceptance and awareness, two things area families promoted Sunday by holding a peaceful sit-in at Riverside Park.
They're hoping to bring more attention to something that happened about two weeks ago when the state's Supreme Court made a major decision that'll affect the future for many in our area.
From afar, it just looks like a group hanging out in Riverside Park. Dig a little deeper and you'll find the common thread that brings them together.
"I am part of a two mom household," said Rosanne St. Sauver.
"I am transgender," said Thatcher Holmes.
"We have two biological kids and we have two young men that have become our sons when they were thrown out of their houses for coming out as gay," said Carol Lloyd Neill.
They're all fighting for the same thing.
The sit-in stems from the Wisconsin Supreme Court's decision to uphold the state's ban on marriage and civil unions between homosexual couples.
"I think if families want to get married, regardless of who makes up those families, that that's a right that everyone should have. It should be the same," said St. Sauver.
As the Neill family knows firsthand, it's not.
"Our youngest daughter is getting married in December, and our sons don't have that right. It takes away some of the joy in the event with our daughter because we know that our sons don't have that right," said Lloyd Neill.
But the Wisconsin Family Council argues that's the way it should be.
The organization's President says "When Wisconsin voters passed the marriage amendment in 2006 by almost 60%, they recognized the purpose of the amendment was clear and simple: to protect the institution of marriage."
Now that the Supreme Court is sticking with that ban, some are upset that they or their loved ones can't tie the knot.
"Just because our sons are gay doesn't mean they shouldn't get to do that," said Lloyd Neill.
Sunday's sit-in also aimed to help support all types of families, whether that be families with two dads, grandparents raising their grandkids, or single parent families.
The state's Supreme Court decided to uphold that constitutional ban about two weeks ago with a vote of seven to zero.
13 Chicago LGBTs Demanding ENDA Passage Arrested at Sen. Durbin's Office [video]
Thirteen protesters demanding that Democratic Senator Dick Durbin actually do something for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) rights -- rather than just talk about it -- sat in at his office today and were arrested. The focus of the action was passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Action (ENDA) ensuring job protections for LGBT people.
In Durbin's case, the distinction between words and actions couldn't be more stark. He says he favors LGBT legal equality, including passage of ENDA and repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT). Yet he voted for DADT in 1993 and for the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996.
Today he's a sponsor of ENDA, but has done next to nothing to advocate for it. He says he opposes employment discrimination, yet his 1993 DADT vote ensures that the nation's largest employer (the military) continues discriminating and he has refused to demand that President Obama issue a stop-loss order for outed military personnel.
Today's action was organized by a coalition of activists from the Gay Liberation Network, Join the Impact-Chicago and LGBT Change.
AZ DADT Civil disobedience, 5 Arrested at McCain's office
Four of five people arrested for protesting in Denver's marriage-license office over the California Supreme Court's decision to uphold a same-sex marriage ban were acquitted of all charges Friday.
A Denver County Court jury found John Ferguson, Catherine Burns, Sharon Wilkins, Lewis Thompson and Donald Foxworth not guilty of failure to obey a lawful order.
But Burns was convicted of trespassing and sentenced to 40 hours of community service.
In May 2008, Burns was convicted of trespassing for staging a sit-in with her partner after the two were denied a marriage license in Denver.
On May 26, 2009, Burns and the other four protesters were arrested by Denver police in the Wellington Webb building at the office of the clerk and recorder because police said they were impeding others from obtaining a license.
Qusair Mohamedbhai, an associate at Killmer, Lane & Newman, took on the case without fee because he felt the protesters' First Amendment rights were trampled on when they were arrested for protesting in a public space.
Mohamedbhai said witness Daniel Stone and his fiancee went into the office during the protest and testified that the demonstrators did not prevent them from obtaining a license.
Co-counsel Mari Newman claimed the city attorneys who prosecuted the case had gays struck from the panel during jury selection.
"It is patently illegal for one side to strike all of the jurors because they share a common protective feature," she said. "The city did it three out of three times."
Assistant City Attorney Vince DiCroce said the jurors were excused not because they are gay but because they said they could not be impartial when questioned by the judge.
DiCroce said the defense did not raise the issue or make an objection about the jurors during selection.