Gays Arrested After Demanding Marriage Licenses

By Matt Baume
|  Wednesday, Feb 16, 2011  |  Updated 7:21 AM PDT
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Gays Arrested After Demanding Marriage Licenses

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SAN FRANCISCO, CA - FEBRUARY 14: San Francisco Sheriffs deputies escort same-sex couple Molly McKay (R) and Davina Kotulski (L) after they were arrested for staging a sit-in protest after same-sex couples were denied marriage licenses from the San Francisco county clerk on February 14, 2011 in San Francisco, California. Close to a dozen same-sex couples who were denied marriage licenses were arrested after they staged a sit-in demonstration inside the office of San Francisco's county clerk. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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Gay couples across the country were arrested on Valentine's Day after requesting a marriage license. And many hundreds more rallied for their freedom to marry at dozens of city halls.

The arrested couples participated in sit-ins, refusing to leave the public offices until they were handcuffed and led away. Such actions are now in their tenth year, according to the Ex.

Eighteen people were detained at San Francisco City Hall, then released. City employees were sympathetic to their cause, and the activists will not need to appear in court.

Currently in California, it is not possible for gay couples to marry. Only for a brief time in 2007 was the ban lifted, but it didn't coincide with Valentine's Day.

In 2004, Mayor Newsom surprised everyone on Valentine's Day by allowing marriages to take place. They were initially invalidated by the Supreme Court, but not long after the court decided that the ban was unconstitutional.

Voters then approved Proposition 8, which again prevented couples from marrying. Now Prop 8 is being challenged in federal court.

Monday's rallies around the Bay Area stretched from San Francisco to San Jose and Yolo County. Similar actions were staged in Houston, Chicago, New York, Asheville, Denver, Akron, St. Louis, and many other cities. Rather than a protest against Valentine's Day, the events were seen as a celebration of love, commitment, and patience.

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