The Richmond area couple were one of two couples who represented LGBTQ Virginians in court in the fight against marriage inequality in Virginia.
Hardly a eye was dry as the crowd watched the couple renew vows taken a few years ago in another state. And how very appropriate that AG Herring led the ceremony. His leadership has been a true catalyst in bringing marriage equality to Virginia.
Also attending was the couple’s 17-year old daughter, Emily, who eloquently addressed the crowd prior to the ceremony. Standing in solidarity with the Attorney General were Hiouse of Delegates member Betsy Carr; Richmond Clerk of Court, Edward F. Jewitt; Congressman Robert Scott and Senator A. Donald McEachin.
Later that day, another local couple exchanged vows and rings before friends and media at the New York Deli in Carytown. The wedding of Shirley Lessor and India Lipton was a dream come true for the couple who also have a young son.
Both Shirley and India have been forerunners in the campaign for marriage equality in Virginia, often sharing their family’s story with the media. The ceremony was conducted by the Reverend Robin Goresline, another pioneer in the Virginia movement. Portions of the ceremony aired live on all three local television stations during their 6PM news broadcasts.
This has been no small fete and not a victory belonging to any one couple, organization or individual. It has been a long time coming, beginning generations ago when our movement was in its infancy.
As we celebrate (and we should) let us not forget those who bravely walked before when bodily harm and sometimes even death were a reality for our movement.
Let us also not forget that it is still legal in Virginia to discriminate against sexual orientation or gender identity in hiring and firing practices and housing.
The battle continues.
We shall see true victory only when all discrimination is eliminated. And that victory is on our horizons. Just watch the sun. You will see.
“And so when Jack came out to me, he told me about a gay bar in Richmond, the Dial Tone. And he said ‘I know a couple hundred gay men,’ and I thought to myself, ‘he’s really a liar, because there’s not 200 gay men in America.’”