Imagine a couple with a love so strong they're considering being together for the long haul, ready for in sickness and in health, for good times and bad. But what if the couple is not legally permitted to marry? This is a reality for gay couples.
"Freedom to Marry Day (FTMD) is a day for the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) community to talk about equality and the ability to marry the person they choose," said Randy McCrillis, Director of GLBT Student Services.
The event is meant to support and honor marriage and family bonds regardless of sexual orientation. Bringing to light the issues of love and civil rights of gay couples, the day occurs around Valentine's Day and Abraham Lincoln's birthday.
"FTMD is important to remind people there are still those considered second class citizens," said Andy Bullecks, senior history major.
Audrey Hendricks, a 2003 CSU graduate, knows the difficulties of being in a relationship with another woman.
"I am really frustrated to the point I don't want to think about the fact I cannot marry my girlfriend," she said. "There is only so much I can do."
Hendricks explained how the little things people don't think about cause more problems.
"When I take my kids to the doctor with my girlfriend, we get asked 'Who's the parent?' We both are (the parents), which leads to 'Who's the biological parent?' Things from that to hearing someone make a lame gay joke or when I read books to my kids," she said. "They're all straight family this, and mommy daddy that. What are you supposed to do, cross out 'daddy' and write 'mommy two'?"
The event originally began with Cheryl Distaso and the Foothills Unitarian Church Youth Group.
"A youth brought it to my attention, and I wanted to do it, because it was so important to them," said Distaso, also a committee member organizing FTMD.
The event brings GLBT Allies together for what Distaso and Hendricks call a fun and positive day.
"I think the event brings more diversity to Fort Collins, because Fort Collins is more conservative compared to campus," said Allen Simon, senior biology and pre-vet major.
FTMD is 12:30 p.m. on Saturday in Old Town Square. The day will include speeches by State Representative Tom Plant, Alicia Forde from the Namaqua Unitarian Universalist Congregation, and songs from Gata Nagra and the Rainbow Chorus. The event will move to Avogadro's Number at 605 South Mason St. and include a wedding cake reception.
"Freedom is on the march everywhere but here," Bullecks said. "There's this rhetoric about spreading freedom everywhere, but it's not happening here."
Natasha Grunden can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org