Mass gay marriage makes history in Cleveland with over 2,000 wedding guests! [PHOTOS] [VIDEOS]

Photo by Vision Video Productions

The Ohio Street Protest for Full Equality took over yet another city in Ohio, this time invading Cleveland this past Saturday (March 24). (Check out this post and this post for details on similar protest last year.) But the protest did more than just disrupt traffic. It made history. After the rally on the steps of Cleveland’s City Hall, near Willard Park at the corner of 9th Street and Lakeside Avenue, participants marched down the street to the Galleria to witness a mass wedding featuring over 250 straight and gay couples. A first for the state, and made even the region.

It was also a historic day for me personally as it was my first pro-gay marriage/equality protest! It was definitely a life changing experience. I was the first speaker (introduced by rally MC Ed Mullen, director of Equality Ohio) and spoke about bullying on behalf of the It Gets Better Project and the Make it Better Foundation. I made a host of new friends (thanks Shannon Glatz, Liberty Manos and Tom Morgan!) and bonded with people from all over the state about issues that I’m passionate about.

It will definitely go down as one of the greatest days of my life. I felt like I was part of something bigger than myself. In that moment in a crowd of 2,000 I felt like I could truly make a difference. I was a very powerful experience that I’ll never forget.

Several organizations came together to plan this amazing event including Equality OhioGetEQUALFreedom to Marry. And there were several amazing speakers including Captain Steve Snyder-Hill, who is the plaintiff, along with his partner, in a high profile DOMA case and the soldier who was booed at the Republican debate in September; former Cuyahoga County Commissioner Tim Hagan, who is a leader of Freedom to Marry Ohio, which is collecting petitions to have gay marriage added to the 2013 ballot; and a surprise visit from former Congresswoman Mary Jo Kilroy, a long time advocate for gay rights, she’s was just named the new CEO of Freedom to Marry Ohio.

Robert and Joyce Strommen

All the speeches were amazing, but I have my favorite was from Pastor Robert and Joyce Strommen (pictured above) who are a part of the Cleveland Stonewall Democrats but were mainly there representing the Cleveland branch of PFLAG (Parents and Families of Lesbians and Gays). They were an older couple who gave a tear-jerking speech about the importance of acceptance. I kept think about my own grandparents and parents and wishing they were as accepting as the Strommens.

The rally also garnered lots of press coverage. Check out videos from Cleveland’s local ABCNBC and Fox news affiliates. and since I was there my journalism bug kicked in I took a few pictures and video (video #1video #2) of my own.

Here are a couple amazing videos of Vision Video Productions. Overall I think they have the best coverage of the event that I’ve seen.

VVP has been posting video and photos of the event on their Facebook page all week. Here are the ones they’ve posted so far. You can continue to follow their videos on their YouTube page.

2 years ago  #queer corner #queer #gay marriage #cleveland   View comments 

Proposition 8 Repeal Approved For Signature Gathering

On Friday, California Secretary of State Debra Bowen granted a gay rights group permission to move forward with a petition seeking to reinstate same-sex marriage in California.

The initiative was instigated by Los Angeles groupLove Honor Cherish. The group must gather 807,615 signatures — or 8 percent of the total votes cast for governor in the 2010 gubernatorial election — in order to qualify the measure for the ballot, and all signatures are due by May 14, 2012.

The initiative would amend the California Constitution to read that, “marriage is between only two persons and shall not be restricted on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, gender, sexual orientation, or religion.” It would also clarify that the initiative “shall not be interpreted to require any priest, minister, pastor, rabbi, or other person to perform a marriage in violation of his or her religious beliefs.”

The initiative comes on the heels of Perry vs. Schwarzenegger, the so-called Prop. 8 trial — a federal lawsuit that challenges the constitutionality of Proposition 8. The decision of that trial could be handed down as early as this month, but Love Honor Cherish says the group is not waiting for the lawsuit to unfold.

"Obviously we are hoping that case succeeds in overturning Prop. 8," said Love Honor Cherish interim Executive Director Eric Harrison to The Huffington Post. "But we need to be prepared to put this on the ballot in case the court case doesn’t go well. We are approaching this with an offensive strategy and sending a message that we’re not just going to be reactive anymore."

Love Honor Cherish is talking to firms that specialize in signature gathering, and has hired Harrison to focus specifically on the ballot measure.

"When we first approached this in 2010, we relied solely on volunteers," said Harrison. "And now, although we’ve always had tremendous community support, we don’t have any illusions about what we need to do, and we know that we need people devoting their time and energy to this entirely. It’s too important."

Proposition 8, the initiative that amended the California constitution to read that only marriages between a man and a woman would be considered valid, was passed with a 52 percent vote in 2008 — just five months after the state Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage. The proposition’s passing surprised many Californians, and opponents immediately launched repeal campaigns,investigations and even a musical mocking support groups.

"Life is tragically short," said Harrison. "And every day that gays and lesbians aren’t allowed to marry is another day that we are denying equality. That sends a message not only to those who aren’t allowed to marry, but to everyone — to our children. It’s time for us to seize the day and claim our rights."

2 years ago  #huffington post #prop 8 #gay rights #gay #marriage #gay marriage #homosexuality #homophobia  3 notes  View comments