We have also heard challenges from gay and lesbian couples wishing to change their names after they have been married out-of-state. Virginia’s 2006 Anti-Marriage Amendment prevents state agency from recognizing any of these partnerships.
Couples wishing to change their name also must receive a court order to present to the DMV following the same process above.
While there have been cases of arbitrary judges denying name change orders, many couples have successfully completed a name change. If you encounter problems, seek counsel through our Legal Resources and report discrimination through our Tell It program to share your story.
If you were one of the 1,000 joining us on Saturday, thank you for bringing your energy that night. We’re sure you felt the electricity in the room just as much as we did! Equality Virginia couldn’t have made this evening possible without you.
If you couldn’t make it this year, find out what we did Saturday night below.
While buzz about marriage equality was top-of-mind with recent headlines, Saturday night, we gained renewed focus to keep pushing for workplace protections for LGBT Virginians inclusive of sexual orientation and gender identity.
We all play a part in creating change. The stories we shared about our OUTstanding Virginians and our local heros show we are fortunate to have many standing up for equality, but we still have much work to do to build a safer communities across Virginia.
On Saturday, it was encouraging to see so many friends looking out for us. Now, we must continue doing our work at home to make sure they can do their work in local office, in the General Assembly, at the Governor’s desk, and in Congress to make this nation a more equal place for all.
Yours in equality,
We Reunited With A Longtime Friend
We recognized Sen. Warner for his longstanding commitment to the LGBT community and for being the first standing Virginia Governor to issue an executive order prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Sen. Mark Warner joined us several years ago at the Commonwealth Dinner and noted the shift he’s seen in his address to the crowd.
“Ten years ago this dinner merely had 200 people. Now it is sold out, and it is representative of the changing face of Virginia,” Warner said. “It’s been a remarkable march of progress, but the fight is not done.”
He also noted that majority of U.S. Senators now support marriage equality and hopes the same for the Supreme Court.
Each year, Equality Virginia honors those who have spent their lives committed to equality for those in the LGBT community. These courageous agents for change are our OUTstanding Virginians.
From a 95-year-old activist who’s still active in the gay community to a transgender advocate working against domestic violence, on Saturday, we recognized seven movers and shakers in Virginia’s LGBT community. And for the first time, we added two committed allies to the ranks of our honorees.
Last year, we raised just over $33,000 from our special ask, so we knew we had to bring the energy this year. We asked Todd Rosenlieb, the director of TRDance in Norfolk, to deliver this year’s ask.
Todd set a goal to beat $40,000. While we know he was well on his way, then Mayor Cory Booker jumped on stage and offered kisses to anyone who gave $10 per month. It pushed giving and pledges to over $45,000. Thank you to all who contributed! We appreciate your support.
When Mayor Booker returned to the stage to deliver his keynote, he moved the crowd with personal stories and bits of wisdom. Here are standout moments from his speech:
Speaking about those who fought and died for their rights before us. “You drink deeply from wells you didn’t dig.”
Booker said as long as there is inequality in this country we are headed in the wrong direction. “This is the United States of America,” he said. “It’s not United Airlines where some of you can sit in first class and some people are back in coach. You can’t have two types of citizenship in this country.”
He delivered an empowering call to action. “I see something on TV and say, ‘somebody should do something about that.’ Then I realize, ‘I AM SOMEBODY!”
“The power of the people is greater than the people in power.”
“When you feel the security of rights, you make sure everyone around you can enjoy them as well.”
“I’m not talking about just gay rights. I’m talking about your rights, my right, human rights, American rights!”
Victoria Bragunier, Alliance for Progressive Values | [email protected] | 804.517.5206
Five Communities Gather for Events Supporting Marriage Equality – PLUS Press Conference w. Del. Scott Surovell in Richmond (see footnote)
What: Statewide Marriage Equality Rallies & Press Conference in Richmond
When & Where: Thursday, February 14
10 a.m., Arlington Judicial Center, 1425 N. Courthouse Rd., Arlington, VA 22201
3 p.m., Charlottesville Clerk’s Office, 315 E. High St., Charlottesville, VA 22902
12 p.m. Hampton General District Court, 236 N. King St., Hampton, VA 23669
12 p.m., Richmond Circuit Court, North 9th St, Richmond, VA 23219
WINCHESTER 12 p.m., Winchester Courthouse, 5 N. Kent St., Winchester, VA 22601
Who: Leaders in the faith community and supporters of equality gather with loving gay and lesbian couples who will apply for marriage licenses at their local clerk’s office.
*Press Conference in Richmond:
10:45 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
5 East Conference Room
General Assembly Building 1000 Bank St., Richmond, VA 23219
Join Del. Scott Surovell with local community and faith leaders for this press conference discussing recent proposed legislation in Virginia supporting marriage equality. Surovell will be joined by gay and lesbian couples impacted by lack of relationship recognition.
At the beginning of this year’s General Assembly, Del. Scott Surovell (D-44) introduced HJ 665, a resolution that was the necessary first step toward repealing the Marshall-Newman amendment to the Constitution of Virginia that denies all relationship recognition to gay and lesbian couples. This resolution was tabled and therefore killed in committee, not even bringing the issue to a floor vote.
Marriage between gay and lesbian couples is currently not legal in Virginia and relationships are not recognized because of the 2006 Marshall-Newman Amendment.
“I can say confidently that the day is coming when legal marriage will be available to all Virginians. That constitutional provision will be overturned—by the voters,” Rev. Dr. Robin Gorsline, president of People of Faith for Equality in Virginia said. “History is always, ultimately, ‘standing on the side of love.’ The tide of love will wash out the stain of hate and ignorance.”
While close-minded voices in Virginia are loud, these religious voices are rising in unison and speaking with love in support of equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Virginians.
“We must show that all Virginians care about marriage equality,” Equality Virginia Executive Director James Parrish said. “This Valentine’s Day is an opportunity to stand up for love – we’re excited to work with People of Faith for Equality in Virginia to recognize gay and lesbian couples in communities across the state.”
This year’s Witness for Marriage event takes place in five communities across Virginia on Valentine’s Day: Arlington, Charlottesville, Hampton, Richmond, and Winchester.
“February 14th is celebrated by many as a day to get married. In the Commonwealth of Virginia, gay and lesbian couples are still denied this right. This is unconscionable, and we urge all Virginians to stand together in support of marriage equality.” Victoria Bragunier, Director of Alliance for Progressive Values, added.
WHERE: Greater Richmond Convention Center, 403 N. Third St., Richmond, VA
WHO: U.S. Senator Mark Warner, invited gubernatorial candidates, Mayor Cory Booker, join Virginia’s largest gala for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
For ten years, Equality Virginia, the statewide advocacy organization has been bringing the LGBT community together for the Annual Commonwealth Dinner; and, in a time where the climate for equality is steadily improving, there is reason to celebrate.
“More Americans than ever believe that LGBT people should be treated equally under the law and we know Mayor Cory Booker is going to energize our guests to continue creating change here at home to bring Virginia into the fold with the rest of the nation,” Executive Director James Parrish said.
Booker, currently mayor of Newark, NJ, is a rising political star known for his innovative ideas, bold actions, and longtime support of LGBT equality. He has been named TIME’s 100 most influential people, and has also received recognition in Esquire and the New York Times Magazine for his leadership.
In addition to Booker’s keynote address, Equality Virginia will highlight Sen. Mark Warner for his longstanding commitment to equality including his actions in 2005, when he was the first Virginia Governor to ban employment discrimination based upon sexual orientation within state government. He recently lent his name to help overturn the Defense of Marriage Act.
“To me, repeal of DOMA is an issue of fairness. Under DOMA, committed relationships legally recognized by some states are made financially and legally unequal in many ways: taxes, inheritance, insurance benefits, and a thousand other rights and benefits that the federal government routinely grants to other married couples,” Warner said.
Invited speakers also include this year’s gubernatorial candidates addressing the crowd on the importance of equality in the role of Governor of Virginia.
Equality Virginia is a statewide, non-partisan education, outreach, and advocacy organization seeking equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Virginians. Since 1989, EV has worked to end discrimination, protect families and build safe communities. More information is online at EqualityVirginia.org. Connect on Facebook.com/EqualityVA or Twitter @EqualityVA.
More than 1,000 LGBT Virginians and supporters of equality joined this year’s 10th Annual Commonwealth Dinner. Thank you to Altria, Weinstein Properties and all of our sponsors for making this year’s event possible!