Toledo--Two days into National Freedom to Marry Week, Tom Meinecke will repeat his annual Valentine�s Day ritual.
He and his partner John will try to get a marriage license at the Lucas County Courthouse.
The Meineckes� act of protest will start with the opening of the marriage bureau on Monday morning.
The same day, from noon to 1 pm in Columbus, there will be a protest and celebration at the Franklin County Courthouse.
The moving force behind both protest activities in the United Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches, a denomination formed to meet the spiritual needs of the LGBT community.
�It�s time for the United States and Ohio to catch up with progressive nations�which already provide for same-sex marriage,� said Rev. Edwin Yates, pastor of A New Life MCC in Toledo.
�We�re simply asking for equality under the law and for an end to discrimination in marriage,� noted Tom Meinecke, who holds a doctorate in theology.
Rev. Troy Perry, the founder of Metropolitan Community Churches, urged members of his denomination and the larger LGBT community to apply for marriage licenses on or near Valentine�s Day every year as a way to draw attention to the inequality in marriage laws in the United States, where same-sex couples are denied over 1,000 protections and privileges immediately granted to a couple that marries.
�We are hope-filled people,� said Yates. �If we are turned down this year, we plan to come back next year and we�ll continue calling attention to the discrimination that exists against lesbians and gays. And we�ll continue to share our love and commitment without the benefits provided to most citizens.�
The Columbus event will be two-pronged. In addition to encouraging people to apply for marriage licenses, Rev. Marj Creech of God�s Promise MCC in Granville, Rev. Margaret Hawk of New Creation MCC in Columbus and a Unitarian Universalist minister will performing a wedding ceremony for any who wish to take part.
�This is an in-your-face protest,� Creech said. �Bring signs and stand silently with us.�
�It is very empowering and says we won�t back down no matter what bigoted legislation they pass,� she continued.
The following day at the Cleveland Lesbian-Gay Center, there will be an activist teach-in, educating members of the community about legislation currently barring same-sex marriage and the steps to be taken in striking such measures. The event begins at 7 pm.
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