After asking – and being denied – marriage licenses at city offices in seven Southern states this month, couples with a North Carolina LGBT rights nonprofit will march 4.5 miles into Washington D.C. on Thursday (Jan. 17) to protest anti-gay marriage laws.
The Asheville-based group called the Campaign for Southern Equality began its WE DO campaign across Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia in January “to highlight the discrimination of current marriage laws across the South,” including North Carolina's Amendment One, according to a press release.
Once the march reaches Washington, D.C, one N.C. couple who was denied a marriage license in Arlington, Va., will have a blessing ceremony in front of the Jefferson Memorial, where gay marriage is legal.
At each location, an LGBT couple approaches the register of deeds counter to ask for a marriage license. The register tells them they cannot be married under state law. The couple explains how long they've been together and then leaves along with supporters. At some locations, clergy have held reconciliation prayer services.
A USA Today article compared the marriage license requests to the civil disobedience protests to end segregation in the 1960s.
The campaign's most recent stops in North Carolina this week were at the register of deeds offices in Wilson and Winston-Salem, according to a press release. In January, 35 couples participated in the civil disobedience-styled protests, according to the campaign's web site.