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

Commitment Fair has
a country-western flair

Columbus--A Brokeback Mountain motif added a country-western flair to the Commitment Fair this year, with the ongoing theme �to commit to yourself, your partner and your community.�

Over 500 people attended Stonewall Columbus� annual event, held at the Franklin Park Conservatory on February 23, raising about $7,000 for the group.

A wide array of exhibitors focused on commitment ceremonies and beyond. Couples planning on forming more binding partnerships were able to see offerings from cake designers and florists to financial advisors and honeymoon planning.

Visitors to the event indulged in a cash bar, food and live entertainment featuring Nina West, Panzie Bloom, the Columbus Gay Men�s Chorus and the Columbus Stompers.

One of the highlights of the evening was a fashion show with leaders and representatives from numerous local GLBT non-profit organizations, including Equality Ohio, Speak Out, the Columbus AIDS Task Force, the Buckeye Region Anti-Violence Organization, the Kaleidoscope Youth Coalition, the Crystal Club and the Ohio Freedom to Marry Coalition. They modeled formal wear, beach wear and country western wear.

Marshall McPeek, WCMH Channel 4 news anchor and a Stonewall board member, said that he hoped that the event would �help raise a good amount of funds for Stonewall�s work and that the event would bring people together.�

Michael Dutcher, director of special events for Stonewall, who organized the event once again this year, was also hoping that the event would �give Stonewall greater visibility in the community.� He said that the leaders form the groups featured in the fashion show had a �lot to be proud of� for the �amazing work they do in Columbus on behalf of the community.�

Kellye Pinkleton, interim executive director of Stonewall Columbus, was �thrilled that the event continues to grow from year to year� and that it provides people a positive way to look forward to commitment and couplehood.

Dutcher said that people are �past the anger over the passage of Issue 1 [the 2004 marriage ban amendment] and are now ready to start acting again to fight for their equal rights to marry and have civil unions.�

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