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Top Stories This Week in the Chronicle.
February 10, 2006

Freedom to Marry Week includes Valentine's Day
at courthouses

Columbus--National Freedom to Marry Week, held February 12 to 18, will be marked with activities across the state, coordinated by Ohio Freedom to Marry and Equality Ohio under the banner, �Families Warm the Heart.�

The week�s events will be highlighted in many cities by courthouse protests on Valentine�s Day, February 14.

In Toledo, the Lucas County Courthouse at 700 Adams St. will be the site of a noon action featuring protesters carrying placards and handing out candy hearts bearing the legend, �Commitment strengthens our community: yours, mine, ours. Civil marriage is for everyone.�

Couples will enter the courthouse to apply for marriage licenses to bring attention to the inequality enshrined in the Ohio Constitution following the November 2004 passage of an amendment barring the state from recognizing same-sex marriages, domestic partnerships or civil unions.

A similar event will be held at 2 pm in Columbus at the Franklin County Courthouse, 373 S. High Street, as well as at the Summit County Courthouse, 209 S. High St. in Akron.

In Cleveland, where a large rally was held at the Cuyahoga County Courthouse two years ago with dozens of couples applying for marriage licenses, the Cleveland LGBT Center decided to go a different route.

�This year, we wanted to show how the right to marry affects all parts of our lives,� said executive director Sue Doerfer. �Each day of Freedom to Marry Week has a different focus.�

On February 12, clergy are urged to devote part of their sermon to marriage equality, while the following day, a Monday, focuses on �Marriage Equality at Work,� with community members asked to request domestic partner benefits at work or to place a photo of their partner on their desk.

�You�d be amazed at the many ways we are not out to people at work,� she said. �The simplest gesture can send quite a powerful message.�

While not specifically organizing any courthouse demonstrations, the center is encouraging people to apply for marriage licenses on February 14. Since its membership includes people from Lake, Cuyahoga, Geauga and Lorain counties, it was believed that this method would be more far-reaching than a specific event at one courthouse.

Wednesday, February 15 focuses on talking to family members, while February 16 is devoted to contacting legislators.

Friday, February 17 is �Motivate Your Friends Day,� the final day of Freedom to Marry Week. The Cleveland LGBT Center wants people to recount their experiences over the course of the week. Some responses will be posted on the organization�s website.

For more information about Freedom to Marry Week, go to the national site at, Equality Ohio�s at, for Toledo or for Cleveland resources.


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