Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Rochester Road to Marriage Equality - Video by Bess Watts

First Marriages in Rochester Sunday July 24, 2011

NY Marriage Equality became a reality in Rochester on Sunday July 24 as 39 same-sex couples received marriage licenses at City Hall or at Brighton Town Hall. Couples started lining up at 6am waiting for the doors to open at 1pm. Judges volunteered their services so that couples could waive the 24 hour waiting period and marry immediately which 10 couples chose to do. It was a day of great joy and happiness. Equality Rochester and Pride at Work AFL-CIO organized the festivities surrounding the couples who received marriage licenses. Flowers, bubbles, cake, professional photographs, wedding favors, music and cheering supporters joined the celebration throughout the day.

Supporters came to celebrate 

Kracke Photography took pictures of the wedding ceremonies
and happy couples who had gotten their licenses. 

Downtown United Presbyterian Church opened their doors
for  those who desired to have a religious ceremony and provided a reception for all.

City Clerk Dan Karin opened the City offices for licences on  Sunday
and 39 same-sex couples took advantage.

City Clerk Dan Karin explains the paperwork to the first applicants who had arrived at 6am.

Pride Parade July 16 2011

Human Rights Campaign was "in the house!"

Bess Watts & Anne Tischer , Grand Marshals of the Parade with
Thomas Warfield and Lt. Governor Bob Duffy

The New Yorkers United for Marriage float 
It was something to be proud of...The marriage contingent led the Pride Parade in a place of honor with representatives from a dozen organizations who actively contributed to the successful passage of the Marriage Equality Act. They joined Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy in a colorful and noisy celebration trailing the Marriage Equality float.

NY Marriage Equality passes & Rochester Celebrates 6-25-11

Equality Rochester anchored the New Yorkers United for Marriage coalition that worked at the grassroots level in Rochester during the final push for NY marriage. The coalition included Human Rights Campaign organizers James Bragg & Errin Doyle, Marriage Equality New York - Rochester Chapter Head Jo Meleca-Voigt, Pride at Work AFL-CIO Rochester President Bess Watts, Empire State Pride Agenda  organizer Alden Bashaw and Todd Plank and Anne Tischer as co-leads for Equality Rochester. There were many hard-working volunteers, notable among them being Courtney Michie and Denise Finnerty of MENY and Jenn Schwab of HRC. Metro Justice provided great support and was the site of the weekly meetings that occurred in the 6 months prior to passage of the bill. At the peak this small group was gathering over 1000 letters a week for our State Senators and generating 300 phone calls from the public using a multitude of venues including the public market, any and all pubic gatherings and festivals like the Lilac Festival, Fairport Canal Days, and the Great Rib Fest. Letters were also gathered from colleges, at arts performances, club meetings, at union meetings and during church fellowship hours.
Marriage passed and the governor signed the law on June 24 2011. Rochester celebrated at Washington Square Park on June 25, 2011.    WE DID IT!!!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

February 13, Nearly Wed Game

EROC/MENY-ROC co-sponsored the Nearly Wed Game with Open Arms Metropolitan Community Church at 140 Alex Bar & Grill. Couples from Euality Rochester, Image Out, Rochester Gay Men's Chorus and PFLAG (Parents, Family & Friends of Lesbians and Gays) competed for prizes in the Valentine's Day themed event. The grand prize of a romantic stay at a bed & breakfast was awarded to Bess Watts & Anne Tischer, together 17 years and married in Canada in 2006.