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Equality Activists Gather for Valentine Ritual

February 14, 2013



By Samantha Morgan
Capital News Service

RICHMOND – Dozens of supporters of same-sex marriage came together Thursday to rally support in Virginia for marriage equality. Gay couples from across the state traveled to Richmond to apply for marriage licenses at the John Marshall Courts Building in what has become a Valentine’s Day tradition.

The Rev. Robin Gorsline of the Metropolitan Community Church in Richmond has been attending the Witness for Marriage event since 2005. Each year, Gorsline and his partner, Jonathan Lebolt, apply for a marriage license, along with a growing number of other gay couples.

This year, Witness for Marriage events were held in four other Virginia cities – Arlington, Winchester, Charlottesville and Hampton.

For the first time, Danya Rosales and Tina Hurley traveled from Hampton for the Richmond event. They plan to make it an annual tradition until gay and straight couples have equal marriage rights.

“I’m very hopeful, at least, in my lifetime; I know we will see rights. I do,” Rosales said.

Jonathan Lebolt also said he is optimistic about the future of marriage equality in Virginia.

“I have the belief and the faith that it’s going to change here,” Lebolt said. “I feel quite sure that it will happen within the next 10 years; I feel very sure of that.”

As the Richmond event wrapped up, the Rev. Jeanne Pupke, the senior minister at the First Unitarian Universalist Church in Richmond, addressed the gay couples who were seeking marriage licenses, along with their supporters.

“Virginia, we call upon you to act on these applications – to become a just and loving place, where loving people can embrace the marriage you say you value so highly. Let that day come,” Pupke said. “Let it come soon.”