Marriage equality group visits area
It’s not about getting special treatment, it’s about being treated equally, said marriage equality lobbyist Steve Hansen Saturday about the movement underway to legalize gay marriage in California.
He was speaking to a group of about 40 gay and straight Nevada County residents who had gathered at the Unitarian Universalist Community of the Mountains Church to participate in a panel discussion and to watch a documentary remembering the gay marriage spree that began this time last year in San Francisco.
The action of San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, who caused a national stir by briefly legalizing gay marriage last year, has prompted the push for a permanent California law with an organized tour called “Get Engaged.”
Marriage Equality California teams are taking the month of February to travel to every county in the state and talk to residents about what marriage equality really means.
“We are going places where people may not have had a dialogue. (We have learned that) just by talking about it, people change their minds; they change their hearts,” Hansen said.
In places such as Nevada County – where there is no organized action – the hope was to inspire the formation of a local MECA chapter.
Residents and gay rights activists Christine Allen and Dee Brafford quickly came forward Saturday to be co-chairs for the Nevada County chapter.
“We are stepping into an uncharted zone,” Allen said about the fledgling chapter. The local chapter will be looking to the 9-month-old Placer County Chapter, which is headed by Toby and Jean Adams, for help, Allen said.
“Auburn and Grass Valley don’t need what San Francisco needs,” Toby Adams said.
She explained that when she was approached about the idea of holding a drag show fund-raiser for the Placer County Chapter, she answered “no, let’s have a bake sale.”
The movement has to reflect the community it is in, she said.
For Toby Adams – who has been through three marriage ceremonies with Jean – one of the most important parts of seeking marriage equality is what it means for the future of their 4-year-old daughter, Kalen
Being legally married ensures security for Kalen in case something happens to one of them – a right enjoyed by other married couples, Toby Adams said.
This is just one example of the rights – and responsibilities – that comes with legalized marriage for gay couples. Others include those that come with social security, health insurance and home ownership.
To celebrate Valentine’s Day and promote awareness about this issue, Christine Allen and her partner, Ann, are planning to go join a statewide “Call to Action” by going to the recorder’s office in the Rood Administrative Center at noon today to ask for a same-sex marriage license.
Allen said she does not expect to be given a license, but that is not what it’s about.
“What I hope is that it will make the people that are working there think about it. Just think, that’s all.”
Where to find more info
Visit Marriage Equality California on the Web at http://www.marriageequalityca.org for more information about the marriage equality movement.
Contact Christine Allen at firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved with the Nevada County chapter.
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