Just in time for Valentine’s Day, gay couples around the world inched closer to gaining the right to marry.
On Tuesday, Washington became the seventh state in the United States to sign gay marriage into law, while the New Jersey Senate passed a gay marriage bill in spite of Gov. Chris Christie’s (R) promise to veto it. The same day in Australia, two bills to lift a ban against same-sex marriage were introduced in Parliament.
But the support was not just legal.
Last week, Washington Rep. Maureen Walsh (R.) surprised her fellow Republicans by taking to the floor and arguing about the importance of giving the opportunity to “individuals who truly were committed to one another in life to be able to. . . to show that by way of a marriage.”
Walsh also said her daughter was a lesbian and that, yes, she was someday going to throw her a wedding.
In another surprise, popular Australian actor Magda Szubanski, came out on television Tuesday as “absolutely gay,” the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
And in Italy, whose parliament rejected an “anti-homophobia” bill last year, came a pro-gay marriage video called “I’ll Marry You,” which depicts a gay couple tying the knot — and a surprise ending.
In New York, for the first time, gay couples were able to marry atop the Empire State Building, a long-time favored marriage spot on Valentine’s Day for straight couples, Reuters reports. Gay marriage was legalized in New York in June.
But even in states without gay marriage victories, gay couples sought to draw attention to the issue Tuesday.
In a campaign organized by Marriage Equality USA and Get Equal, hundreds of people applied for marriage licenses in six different states, knowing full well they would be rejected. Many of the couples gave Valentine’s Day candy to the clerks, and thanked them for their time.
“What's really shared about marriage is the desire to marry the person you love,” Stuart Gaffney, a gay man and one of the original plaintiffs in the appeal against California’s Prop 8, which banned gay marriage, told the Guardian.“That's never more visible than when you're actually at the marriage licence counter hoping to get married.”