Home Social Justice PFLAG rallies in support of marriage equality

PFLAG rallies in support of marriage equality

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Members of Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbian and Gays (PFLAG) gathered in front of the Athens County Municipal Courthouse on Union Street on Monday March 25 to draw attention to the supreme court cases disputing California’s Proposition 8 and The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

The appeal for Prop. 8, a state constitutional amendment passed in 2008 banning same-sex marriage, was on Tuesday. DOMA, a United States federal law stating that marriage is a union that can only take place between a man and a woman, will be tried on Wednesday.

Groups supporting same-sex marriage and gay rights are gathering all week across the country to make a statement about the cases.

“Our main goal is to have a lot of awareness brought to this because [Tuesday] and Wednesday some huge court cases; we are trying to be a visual aid of support,” Ginny Blakely, Athens PFLAG board member at large said.

PFLAG was founded in 1972 and meant to organize the LGBT community to educate and advocate for human rights. The organization now has over 200,000 members.

“We are standing in support for ourselves as a group that fights for human rights and fairness for all,” Blakely said.

The lawyers defending the proposition on Tuesday claim that the states responsibility, in regards to marriage, is to regulate procreation, and procreation can only exist between a man and a woman.

The disagreement between sociologists about the sociological effects on children brought up in households under same-sex couples is also said grounds for the proposition’s enactment.

Appealing this proposition, as well as DOMA, would also conflict with rulings in many other states, not allowing same-sex couples to adopt.

The lawyers working to appeal Prop. 8 and DOMA argue that it is time that same-sex couples have the same rights as opposite sex-couple. The couples will still not be able to procreate, whether the government is involved in their marital status or not.

“Love is love and family is family and this is about the government recognizing it. There are a lot of privileges that a lot of people take for granted,” Blakely said.

Blakely also explained that this is more than just a call to action to the government, but the people.

“I think there are a lot of fence sitters that are not sure of how to feel, and I think when you see a large group like this it helps to make the decision,” Blakely said.

The appeal of DOMA and Prop. 8 would mean marital rights for same-sex couples in all states, including Ohio.

The city of Athens has already done a lot to help out with progression of LGBT rights, specifically the ordinances allowing for domestic partner registry, granting equal benefits to partners of city officials and gender identity protection over hate crimes.

“This is a critically important time for this issue. What we have done in Athens by pushing forward on issues of equality, no matter what happens with the supreme court decision, communities like Athens need to take a stand for equality,” At-Large Rep. Elahu Gosney said.

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