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Gays arrested at NYC marriage license bureau

NEW YORK -- Four members of a new ACT UP-like group known as Queer Rising were arrested in Manhattan on Friday, Feb. 12, after chaining themselves to the entrance of the New York City Marriage Bureau.

Alan Bounville, Jake Goodman, Justin Elzie and Gabriel Yuri Bollag sought equal marriage rights for same-sex couples.

Dozens of gay marriage supporters cheered them on.

Twenty same-sex couples went inside and tried to obtain marriage licenses. They were rebuffed.

A gay man and a lesbian then presented themselves as a faux couple, asked for a license and were given one.

"New York City is home to the Stonewall Riots and in that tradition we are here to say that equality doesn't arrive through the ballot box," Queer Rising spokesperson Spring Super said.

"The bankrupt strategy of putting all efforts into electing so-called friendly officials has failed," Super said. "We must shift to building a grassroots, national movement that demands full equality by any means necessary."

New York state recognizes same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions but does not allow them itself.

Same-sex marriage is legal in Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont. It also is legal in Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands, Norway, South Africa, Spain and Sweden -- and in Argentina's Tierra del Fuego province. It will become legal in Washington, D.C., in March and in Portugal later this year.

Same-sex couples were able to marry in California for 4 1/2 months in 2008 until voters amended the state constitution to put a stop to it.

Maine legalized same-sex marriage in 2009 but voters repealed the new law before it took effect.

Veteran journalist Rex Wockner has reported news for gay media for 25 years in 350+ publications in 38 countries.