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In the Southeast, where legal same-sex marriage remains a distant hope for many, some are challenging the law of the land in a very direct way: gay couples are requesting marriage licenses knowing they’ll face rejection under state law.
Through the “We Do” campaign, organized and executed by the gay rights group Campaign for Southern Equality, roughly 50 couples have sought marriage licenses in South Carolina, North Carolina, Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee–all states with constitutional bans on same-sex marriage.
“LGBT folks are expressing their full equality and full humanity in public life,” says Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, Campaign for Southern Equality Executive Director, of the marriage license requests. “[Being LGBT and in the south] we’re trained to do almost everything in our power to avoid situations like that.”
On Thursday, “We Do” plans to wrap up its current leg with couples applying for marriage licenses in Arlington, Virginia. Same-sex marriage is not recognized in Virginia, and Beach-Ferrara expects the couples to be denied. The group will then march to Washington, and end at the Jefferson Memorial where a couple from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Mark Maxwell and Tim Young, will legally marry.