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"Canadian same-sex marriage poster boys Kevin Bourassa and Joe Varnell, who run the equalmarriage.ca web site, plan to hit the road in the U.S. and bring hope to American lesbian and gay couples craving their own nuptials."
Innewsweekly.com, June 3, 2004

 

 

Kevin Bourassa, Molly MacKay , Davina Kotulski, and Joe Varnell (Photo for equalmarriage.ca, 2004)
Kevin Bourassa, Molly MacKay, Davina Kotulski, and Joe Varnell

 

 

Sponsoring organizations include:

Asian Pacific American Coalition for Equality
California Freedom to Marry Coalition
Dignity USA
Equal Marriage For Same-Sex Couples in Canada
Equality California
The Equality Campaign
DontAmend.com(National, Chicago, Philadelphia, Kansas City, Dallas, Tampa, Atlanta, Seattle, and Massachusetts)
Equality Illinois
EyeBite Productions
Families of Color Network
Freedom to Marry
Immigration Equality-San Francisco
Kevin Bourassa and Joe Varnell: Equal Marriage For Same-Sex Couples (Canada)
Love Exiles Foundation
Love Sees No Borders
Marriage Equality California
Marriage Equality Colorado
Marriage Equality Georgia
Marriage Equality USA
Metropolitan Community of Churches
Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays
Soulforce, Inc.
Maryland Equality
United Church of Christ Coalition for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Concerns
Women Vision
Wyoming Equality

 

 

Equal marriage caravan from San Francisco to Washington, D.C.

 

 

Attorney Gen. builds case for New York recognition of Canadian gay marriages.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Same-sex couple denied the right to enter the United States as a  family

 

 

 

External link to Equality California

 

 

 

U.S. Customs continues to discriminate against same-sex couples.

 

 

 

Link to the Metropolitan Community Churches World Centre

 

 

 

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Adovcacy News - International Marriage Equality Express

May 5, 2004 (Updated October 1)

International Marriage Equality Express
Two civil rights milestones celebrated

"Human rights do not begin or end at a nation's borders. Human rights and human dignity are universal and inevitable."
Jerry Shestack, Past President American Bar Association, and former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Human Rights Commission. May 6, 2002, Toronto


Update: Due to ongoing uncertainty regarding our difficulty in entering the U.S. as a family, and our still undefined legal strategy, we have cancelled our participation. We greatly appreciate the organizer's kind offer for us to be their guests, and we have donated all funds raised to the tour organizers.

California activists are spearheading an international call to action in support of marriage equality for same-sex couples. The "Marriage Equality Express" caravan will leave San Francisco and travel across the heartland, spreading the word about why access to civil marriage is so important for families of same sex couples. The caravan will converge in Washington D.C. on National Coming Out Day, October 11th, for an emergency rally to speak out against the proposed Constitutional amendment to ban same sex marriage and in support of full equality for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered (LGBT) people.

The caravan will be leaving from San Francisco carrying several same-sex newlyweds. Over a seven day period, the Marriage Equality Express will stop in Sacramento, Reno, Salt Lake City, Cheyenne, Denver, Kansas City, St, Louis, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Columbus, Pittsburgh, and eventually converge with other marriage activists in Washington D.C. for the rally at the U.S. Capitol.

Why you should give a damn about gay marriage"We want to put a face to the issue and explain how the Defense of Marriage Act and other state and federal discriminatory laws directly affect our lives," said Davina Kotulski, Ph.D. organizer and author of Why You Should Give A Damn About Gay Marriage, "Riders will include bi-national couples, parents, federal employees, grandmothers, children of gay parents, clergy members, military veterans and other long-time together couples who will share their personal stories at rallies along the way. California activists committed to expanding this to a national action are beginning to work with other states who are interested in hosting their own Marriage Equality Express caravans to increase outreach and education in other cities along their own route to D.C."

"This is an emergency rally, held just BEFORE the elections, because anti-equal rights forces are trying to ram through this discriminatory amendment, scapegoat gay people, and thus divert attention away from the failures of the Bush administration," said Robin Tyler, National Co-Chair of DontAmend.com. "Unfortunately, by not standing up to this bigotry, leaders of the Democratic opposition have ALSO failed their constituents. They have thus far refused to take a principled stand of endorsing full legal equality for gay people, including equal marriage rights.] Regardless of the presidential election, we need to confront bigotry and all politicians who continue to push Marriage segregation. We are not going to just go away, or wait until our cause is more convenient. As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, 'Justice Delayed is Justice Denied.'"

Marriage Equality Express
Caravan Schedule
October 4-11th

Mon 10/4 Day 1 9:00-10:00 AM Rally in Sacramento NOON-2:00 PM Rally in Reno

Tue 10/5 Day 2 Noon -2:00 PM Rally in Salt Lake City Fundraising Dinner and Overnight in SLC

Wednesday 10/6 Day 3 4:00-6:30 PM Cheyenne/fundraiser/speakers. 8:00-11:00 PM Fundraiser in Denver

Thursday 10/7 Day 4 9:00-10:00 AM Rally in Denver 8:15-10:15pm Marriage Fundraiser in Kansas City

Fri 10/8 Day 5 Noon-2:00 PM Rally in St. Louis 6:00-9:00 PM Indianapolis Fundraiser Dinner/Speakers

Sat 10/9 Day 6 11:00 12:30 PM Morning Rally in Cincinnati 2:00-3:30 PM Rally in Columbus 6:30-10:00 PM Pittsburgh Marriage Fundraiser Dinner

Sun 10/10 Day 7 Arrive in DC, check into hotels 6:00 PM Marriage Fundraiser Mon 10/11 Day 8 National Coming Out Day. 11:00-4:00 PM Marriage Equality Rally at the U.S. Capitol

Donate to cover expenses

"I feel so far removed from the good things happening in San Francisco. I live in Colorado where the conservative Republican House & Senate are constantly repressing the GLBT community. The Marriage Equality caravan stopping in Denver allows us to be a part of the action. I'm very excited about it," said Antonio Martinez, Marriage Equality Colorado.

"This will definitely shake up Wyoming. I think it's important for people to know about how gay and lesbian couples are hurt by not having access to marriage. We will roll out the red carpet, here in Cheyenne," said Tony Hughes, Equality Wyoming.

"We were married on Jan. 14, 2001 by the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto. On June 10, 2003 the Court of Appeal for Ontario ordered the province to register our mSELECT to learn more about Just Married: Gay Marriage and the Expansion of Human Rightsarriage and the court changed the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples, effective immediately. Even after all we went through to have our marriage recognized in our own country, when we tried to enter the US in September 2003 we were denied entry as a married couple. We are going on the caravan to talk to Americans about how not having full equality, hurts all the citizens of the world," said Kevin Bourassa and Joe Varnell, Equal Marriage for Same Sex Couples (Canada).

"We are a bi-national same-sex couple. Wendy is American and I am from Wales. Despite being married in San Francisco, Wendy is unable to sponsor me for permanent residency as a heterosexual spouse can. We are legal strangers in the eyes of the Federal law. This means Wendy's country "the land of the free" is forcing her to choose her country or the love of her life. We want people to know about the plight of same-sex bi-national couples." Belinda Ryan Immigration Equality

"Hundreds of Americans have chosen to live with their non-US loved ones in foreign countries, where their relationships are treated as equal under law, rather than live as second class citizens in the US. US gays and lesbians in bi-national relationships do not enjoy the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness--at least not in the United States. It's time for change. Love Exiles are joining the caravan to demand our rights in the USA." Martha McDevitt-Pugh, founder of Love Exiles, with chapters in the Netherlands, UK, Germany and Canada.

The marriage caravan will:

  1. Increase media attention on the issues related to marriage equality, immigration equality, children's rights and protections, and other areas of equality for all LGBT people and communities.
  2. Increase media attention in regions where media attention may be infrequent and demonstrate the diversity of our communities and our allies.
  3. Infuse, empower, invigorate, and share resources with local leadership.
  4. Bring together a coalition of organizations working together for equality and to create a common goal and synergy that resonates throughout the country.
  5. Do a Voter Drive in each location and encourage people to make their voices heard through voting.
  6. Create optimism and a united movement that will help us defeat the Federal Marriage Amendment, overturn Don't Ask Don't Tell, repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, pass the Permanent Partners Immigration Act and put the USA on notice that LGBT people and their supporters are a force to reckon with.

A few seats will be available for media who would like to cover this story. Please contact Davina Kotulski for details:

Link to Marriage Equality - CaliforniaMarriage Equality California
(510) 332-0973
davina@marriageequalityca.org

Please support this important same-sex marriage initiative.


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Our thanks to the following for promotional assistance:

Link to Queer Canada
Link to Lambda Online - Canada

Thanks to Richard Blaquiere, Derrick Joyner, Gian Yek Liew, George Olds and Ian Taylor, for their online donations. If you prefer, cheques can be made payable to MECA/EQCA, with "Kevin and Joe: Marriage Caravan" written in the memo line and sent to MECA at 4043 Piedmont Ave. #334, Oakland, CA 94611.


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