On Valentine’s Day, local same-sex couples made the symbolic gesture of applying for a marriage license at the Arlington County Courthouse.
While they know that same-sex marriage is banned in Virginia, they gathered to tell their love stories and express support of gay marriage.
“We love each other very much, all we want is equal rights,” said Peggy Mangum, who applied for a marriage license with her partner, Cindy Smith.
The couple has been together for 19 years, and both are longtime Arlington County residents.
“We want to have a say in our own lives,” Smith said.
The People of Faith for Equality in Virginia and Equality Virginia, an interfaith advocacy group that supports lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, sponsored the event.
“I think it’s important to celebrate love wherever it’s found,” said minister Carlton Elliott Smith, of the Unitarian Universalist Church. “There’s no reason same-sex couples should be prevented from being recognized in marriage.”
Three couples applied for the marriage license in a symbolic ceremony in front of the courthouse. Paul Ferguson, clerk of the county court, had to deny the applications but said he would keep them on file.
“Although I have my viewpoints, my job is to follow the laws of Virginia, and people have an understanding about this,” Ferguson said.
Smith and Mangum said they are optimistic that gay marriage would one day be legalized in Virginia.
“I never thought I would see gay marriage in my lifetime,” Mangum said. “It’s another step in the process of equality.”