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A kiss for the protestors: Freedom to Marry Week

Ellen Pontac and Shelly Bailes kiss in front of a small group of protestors across from Recorder’s office.

It’s been like Groundhog Day for the past 12 years for gay couples who have wanted to get married on Valentine’s Day as part of Freedom to Marry Week.

Groundhog Day, the movie. You know, the one where the same thing keeps happening day after day.

For straight couples it’s been a piece of cake; get dressed up, head to the county’s Recorder office, fill out some paperwork. Boom…….you’re married. For gay couples, all they’ve heard is "no."

Yolo and Sacramento County Chapters of Marriage Equality USA on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14, rallied at noon at the Sacramento County Recorder’s Office.

Gay couples watch as straight, newly-married couples leave the Recorder’s office.

The staff at the Recorder’s office have grown used to the scenario, so it’s like ‘old home week’ when gay couples show up only to be turned away.

Gay activist Jerry Sloan was there showing support. At one point he shared that he had just talked to the Recorder about the fact in the 1970’s, marriage licenses were issued to same-sex couples for seven years.

"Legislators had updated a law and accidentally left out gender in the marriage law," Sloan explained. "It just said ‘persons of age.’"
"So Joe Gilbert, the pastor of Metropolitan Church at the time came across that and talked to the Recorder."

The Recorder said "I can’t see why we can’t do that (marry same-sex partners)."

And for seven years gay couples were married.

Chief Deputy Clerk Donna Allred, Chief Deputy Clerk/Recorder, turns away Walker and Mikalson for a marriage license.
Reed Walker and Poshi Mikalson tell what happened when
they tried to apply for a marriage license to a tv cameraman.

"I said ‘I am an unmarried woman’ and Reed Walker her partner, said she is an unmarried woman and we were told marriage is between an unmarried man and an unmarried woman," Poshi Mikalson said.

They’ve been together since 2001. Mikalson has three children from a previous marriage.

"I came out late in life," she said.

"Reed has helped me raise two of my children, along with their father," Mikalson explained.

The overall mood during the rally was upbeat. The best part was when a small group of protestors showed up across the street, as seen in very top photo. Bailes and Pontac gave them more than they probably hoped for!

A few more pictures:

Bailes and Pontac have been partners for 38 years and were
legally married in 2004.
The rallyests, named below.

From left to right: Jerry Sloan, unidentified man, Shelly Bailes, Ellen Pontac, Reed Walker, Poshi Mikalson and Elaine Verbarg.

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