They know they'll go home empty-handed, even if it is Valentine's Day, but same-sex couples nationwide, including in Texas, plan to make a political statement today by seeking marriage licenses at county clerks' offices.
"Marriage is a civil right, not a heterosexual privilege," said Tiffani Bishop of Austin, who is active in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
She and others hope to draw attention to the fact that most states still ban same-sex couples from legally marrying. Texas law defines marriage as between one man and one woman.
Same-sex couples also plan to participate in rallies, gay wedding celebrations, protests and more as part of the annual February Freedom to Marry month activities. No events are planned in North Texas, organizers say.
"There are an estimated 17,444 children being raised by same-sex couples in Texas," said Michael Diviesti, state coordinator for GetEQUAL TX, an Austin-based nonprofit geared to empower the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. "Texas politicians claim to want to protect my fellow Texans and their families.
"Instead they have fought and so far succeeded in placing restrictions on these [same-sex couple] families that ensure that they have few if any of the protections given to children raised in heterosexual households."
Texas Eagle Forum President Pat Carlson of Fort Worth said she doesn't support the movement.
"There is a continual effort by the homosexual community to push their agenda on the rest of us," said Carlson, whose group advocates for socially conservative causes. "The bottom line is they are trying to destroy traditional marriage as we know it in the country and make their lifestyle the norm.
"They make it seem that anybody who has a problem with it is homophobic."
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