It's National Marriage Week, and for some local activists, that's the perfect time to educate Memphians on the amendment referendum to ban gay marriage in Tennesse, which is set to appear on the November ballot.
On February 13th, Integrity-Memphis and Initiative: Fairness, both gay rights groups, are sponsoring a screening of Tying the Knot: The Union That's Dividing America as part of its Freedom To Marry Celebration. The documentary follows the plight of two same-sex couples struggling for basic marriage rights, like pension benefits and property rights, after their partners pass away. It also shows a history of gay marriage, from gay hippies getting hitched in Manhattan to the legalization of same-sex marriage in Canada and Holland.
According to Jonathan Cole of Integrity-Memphis, there are at least 1,049 marriage-related rights denied to same-sex couples because they can't legally marry.
Nineteen states have already passed amendments to their state constitutions banning gay marriage.
"This is a civil-rights issue," says Cole. "We're hoping to form a long-term organization focusing on marriage equality. I'll be taking a survey [on Monday] to gage the level of interest."
Freedom To Marry Celebration, 6 p.m. Monday, February 13th, Grace-St. Luke's Episcopal Church