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Freedom to Marry events planned Valentine's weekend

SAN FRANCISCO _ Supporters of the marriage equality movement will rally at National Freedom to Marry Week events nationwide this week to tell their stories.

One such event is planned at 11 a.m. Friday, Feb. 12, at the Federal District Court in San Francisco, where the Proposition 8 trial was held last month.

At marriage counters all over the U.S., same-sex couples will again request marriage licenses at their local County Clerk's Offices and engage in other public-education outreach efforts to help raise awareness of the harms and impact the inability to marry causes on their families.

In San Francisco, supporters will gather on the steps of City Hall for a short program of speakers to highlight personal stories from San Francisco’s unique experiences and contributions to the marriage equality movement.

Afterwards, same-sex couples who are now unable to marry because of Proposition 8 will request marriage licenses at the Clerk’s Office and attend the “Winter of Love” quilt exhibition opening and “Love Everywhere” dance performance in the Rotunda at noon.

"Since 2001, Marriage Equality USA chapters have engaged in these annual marriage counter actions to render visible the discrimination that is enforced every day, said Molly McKay, Marriage Equality USA media director.

Married couples, both same-sex and different-sex, will offer support and solidarity with same-sex couples who are now barred from joining them as married couples, McKay said.

"Love Everywhere," a new work by the Erika Chong Shuch Performance Project, will feature 60 dancers and 15 musicians.

A celebration of love intended to bring strangers together, “Love Everywhere” reflects on the history of marriage, invites audiences into spontaneous celebrations, and incorporates large groups of dancers and non-dancers as performers. The piece aims to bring visibility to the ongoing fight for marriage equality.

Performances will continue through Feb. 14, culminating with two performances at Glide Memorial Church on Sunday, Feb. 14. Visit www.loveeverywhere.org for details.

"Winter of Love: A Coalition Exhibit Celebrating the Courage, Creativity and Diversity of Our Grassroots Marriage Equality Movements" is a new installment of "The Loving Quilt: A People’s Living History of Marriage Equality."

The project is sponsored by Marriage Equality USA, which was founded in 2007 to honor the third anniversary of the 4,038 couples married between Feb. 12 to March 11, 2004, and the 40th anniversary of the Loving v. Virginia Supreme Court decision.

"The new installments celebrate the 18,000 same-sex couples married between June 16 to Nov. 4, 2008, through personal stories from people and organizations working to see the Freedom to Marry Day into a sustained reality for everyone," said Maya Scott-Chung, “The Loving Quilt” curator.

Freedom to Marry events are being planned across California, including Fresno, and around the nation, including in Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Maryland. For a complete list of Freedom to Marry events, go to www.marriageequality.org.

Founded in 2000, Marriage Equality USA is a national grassroots organization whose mission is to secure legally recognized civil marriage equality for all, at the federal and state level, without regard to gender identity or sexual orientation.