Flyer (Please distribute)
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."
Sponsoring organizations include:
Pacific American Coalition for Equality
Adovcacy News - International Marriage Equality Express
May 5, 2004 (Updated October 1)
Marriage Equality Express
do not begin or end at a nation's borders. Human rights and human dignity are
universal and inevitable."
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.
"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."
"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 marriage 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:
A few seats will be available for media who would like to cover this story. Please contact Davina Kotulski for details:
Please support this important same-sex marriage initiative.
Our thanks to the following for promotional assistance:
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.