National Freedom to Marry Day -- February 12

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Lesbians, gay men & allies to mark first national event by 'tying the knot'
January 12, 1998

(NEW YORK, January 12, 1998) -- National Freedom to Marry Day will take place on Thursday, February 12, 1998.

The day is announced by the National Freedom to Marry Coalition, which includes Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund; the Human Rights Campaign; the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force; Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation; the American Civil Liberties Union; Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders; the National Organization of Women; Parents, Friends, and Family of Lesbians and Gays; and the L. A. Gay & Lesbian Center, as well as hundreds of non-gay and gay local and state partners across the country.

Why February 12? Two words: equality and love. Abraham Lincoln's birthday is a time to think about equality; Valentine's Day is a time to think of love. In other words, there's no better day to mark the importance of ending sex discrimination in marriage and allowing lesbian and gay couples to share in the celebration, rights, and responsibilities of civil marriage.

A Hawaii Supreme Court decision on marriage for lesbian and gay couples is expected soon, with national repercussions. Without discussion between gay and non-gay America, this tremendous chance for greater freedom and equality may be lost or significantly delayed.

"The choice of whether and whom to marry is one of the most important personal decisions there is," says Evan Wolfson, who spearheads Lambda's Marriage Project. "It belongs to couples in love, not politicians or governments. National Freedom to Marry Day is an opportunity to help everyone understand the hardships and unfairness caused by denying lesbian and gay couples the Freedom to Marry. Working toward National Freedom to Marry Day's commemorations on February 12 gives us the chance to focus on winning more allies."

Tying the Knot

Many of the events on National Freedom to Marry Day will center around the Marriage Resolution, a statement of support for equal marriage rights endorsed by hundreds of organizations, clergy, and prominent individuals.

In addition to unveiling the names of new allies and introducing couples and families for whom the Freedom to Marry is urgently important, organizers are asking allies across the country to participate in a show of support by "Tying the Knot."

"Tying the Knot" will entail knotting ribbons around trees, lamp posts, buildings, door knobs, and car antennae. Individuals are asked to tie a knot around their ring finger or arm, or to wear a knot on their lapel.

"Every person who 'Ties the Knot,' on February 12 will be starting conversations," says Kevin M. Cathcart, executive director at Lambda. "When someone asks what the ribbon represents, each of us can explain: it represents support for the Freedom to Marry, equality for lesbians and gay men, and love."

"We're asking everyone to think about their important life ties," Cathcart added. "That's what the knot represents. By refusing to recognize those ties, the state forces terrible risks on lesbian and gay families and couples -- in effect, often severing those ties. Whether it involves hospital visitation, child custody, immigration, or other legal securities, lesbian and gay couples and families need the same basic family-survival rights that everyone else can enjoy."


Individuals who are interested in finding out more about how they can support National Freedom to Marry Day can contact:
Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund 212-809-8585
GLAAD (212) 807-1700
HRC (202) 628-4160
PFLAG (202) 638-4200
NGLTF (617) 492-6393
GLAD (617) 426-1350
NOW (202) 331-0066
L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center (213) 860-7357


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