Freedom To Marry Day - 2/12/2009

Buck and Michael - 1998Image by jessebucksc via FlickrTucson, AZ: On National Freedom to Marry Day, February 12, 2009, from Noon to 1:00 pm Marriage Equality USA – Arizona will request marriage licenses for local same-sex couple Buck Bannister and Michael Koch at the Pima County Clerk’s Office at the Superior Court Building, 100 W. Congress, Chuch Street side in Downtown Tucson. Immediately following this denial there will be a small peaceful assembly outside the building in support of the couple, and all same-sex couples who are denied the Freedom to Marry.

On National Freedom to Marry Day, Thursday, February 12, 2009, at local marriage counters in cities all over the country, same-sex couples will request marriage licenses at their local County Clerk’s Offices to raise awareness of the harms and impact the inability to marry causes on their families.

“My partner and I had just celebrated our 10th anniversary on January 1,” said Tucson resident Buck Bannister. “To those people who say that it is impossible for gay people to have deep and lasting relationships I simply point to my own.”

“No matter the strength or length of our relationships we remain legal strangers under our particular state law. All same-sex couples are denied the 1,138 federal rights of marriage,” said John Allard, Marriage Equality USA Arizona Chapter Co-Leader. “With the support of President Obama and with the growing sea change towards supporting protections for same-sex couples, we are hopeful that we can finally turn our attention to overturning the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), passed in 1996, and work together to uphold the American tradition of fairness and equality by ending marriage discrimination once and for all.”

“Since 2001, Marriage Equality USA chapters have engaged in these annual marriage counter actions to render visible the discrimination that is enforced every day. It is an affront to our basic dignity as fellow human beings when same-sex couples are turned away from the marriage counter, but it gives us the opportunity to tell our stories and show that we live in every community and want to honor and protect our families like everyone else,” said Steen Lawson, Marriage Equality USA Arizona Chapter Co-Leader. “Marriage discrimination is wrong and harms real-life families. All Americans deserve equal treatment under the law. The time has come.”

The Pima County marriage counter action is just one of many similar actions happening across the country on Valentine’s Day. For a complete list of actions go to

Founded in 2000, Marriage Equality USA is a national grassroots organization whose mission is to secure legally recognized civil marriage equality for all, at the federal and state level, without regard to gender identity or sexual orientation . For more information go to

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