Rulings on prop 8 and DOMA are to be made in the next few weeks, and in preparation, Equality Virginia is inviting people to host cookouts for marriage equality throughout the state of Virginia. These cookouts can be “anywhere from having a few friends over for a bottle of wine and some cheese or they can have a huge cookout,” explained Jo Gehlbach, field coordinator for Equality Virginia. So far there are 46 cookouts set up around Virginia, and people can continue to register to host a cookout until June 10. To register to host a cookout, visit this site here.
These cookouts will all take place on June 22 and June 23, the same week as the decision for prop 8 and DOMA is expected, though the real date is yet to be confirmed. Gehlbach explained that the purpose of these cookouts is “to put a face to the issue of marriage equality within Virginia because when it comes to social injustices, it’s extremely important to personalize the issue so the public understands that the Supreme Court’s decision on prop 8 and DOMA are not just removed obsolete rulings, but that the cases in the rulings have real lived repercussions for real people and real families.”
When it comes time for the Supreme Court to make its ruling, Equality Virginia hopes that they will look at the pictures from the cookouts, and will realize that they will be granting or denying all of these people the right to happiness that they deserve. “We want to be able to share the stories of Virginians who are affected by it,” said Gehlbach.
“Anybody can sign up to host a cookout,” said Gehlbach. The cookouts are being held by couples that have a legal marriage outside of the state of Virginia, or by someone who wants to celebrate a couple that is legally married outside of the state. Transgender people are invited to join in the celebration because, Gehlbach stated, “marriage rulings affect trans people too.”
By having these cookouts, Equality Virginia is hoping to “get the word out and show that these are real people and we’re hoping to create a narrative for the press that expresses that,” Gehlbach said. If you are married outside of the state of Virginia, or if you know a couple who is, get involved and host a cookout to help achieve equal marriage rights. For more information visit http://www.equalityvirginia.org/cookout/