Same sex couples demonstrate at Virginia courthouses for Valentine's Day
For same sex couples in Virginia, this Valentine's Day involved flowers, candy and demonstrations outside county courthouses throughout the Commonwealth.
Barb Brehm and Karen Rasmussen are two retired naval officers. They have been together for a quarter of a century. On Tuesday, they asked to become wife and wife, knowing it was against the law.
"We want Virginia to know that [marriage is] for all lovers, not just for some," said Reverend Karen Rasmussen, of Annandale.
Hand-in-hand, Brehm and Rasmussen are writing the next chapter in their 26-year love story.
"We felt it was our time to step up [...] so the next generation doesn't have to," Brehm said.
Surrounded by friends, the couple is asking Fairfax County for a marriage license.
"I brought a ring just in case," Rasmussen said.
Their actions symbolize a movement.
"All we want is the same rights as heterosexuals, as every other tax-paying citizen," said Judy Stone and Beth Stevens of Fairfax.
Gay and lesbian couples, clergy and families came to support Brehm and Rasmussen.
"We come down on the side of love," said Cathy Downs of Fairfax.
As soon as they entered the courthouse, the couple left empty-handed.
"We have been faithful to our nation," Rasmussen said. "All we're asking for is some reciprocity in that the nation be faithful back to us."
Their demonstration took place as two Maryland House committees approve the Civil Marriage Protection Act, advancing a measure to legalize same sex marriage.
"Virginia is for lovers, right, so why wouldn't we be the forerunners of this entire thing?" said bystander Jina Love of Fairfax. "If two people find love, whether it's a man and a man, a woman and a woman, or a woman and a man, why fight that?"
Gay and lesbian couples have been requesting marriage licenses on Valentine's Day for the last six years since Virginia defined marriage as between one man and one woman.