Marriage Equality Express
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The Marriage Equality Caravan, or Marriage Equality Express was an educational bus tour organized by the California chapter of Marriage Equality USA organized in response to the invalidation of 4,000 same-sex marriages that had taken place between February 12 and March 11, 2004 by the California State Supreme Court on August 11, 2004. The tour was led by Davina Kotulski, Molly McKay, Belinda Ryan, Wendy Daw, Jacqueline Frank, and Bev Senkowski.
On October 4, 2004, 44 activists including Davina Kotulski, Molly McKay, California marriage case plaintiffs Stuart Gaffney and John Lewis, Roland Torres Q TV, Karen Ocamb, Out Word, Mike Kepka photographer for the San Francisco Chronicle, and Rona Marech, reporter for the same paper loaded a bus and traveled across the country stopping in thirteen states and hosting marriage equality forums and panels at universities and churches. The "Marriage Equality Express," an educational bus tour across the United States that culminated in the first national marriage equality rally in Washington, DC on October 11, 2004, National Coming Out Day. The rally featured the Hawaii Marriage Case Plaintiff Genora Dancel; Beth Robinson, attorney in the Vermont Freedom to Marry case; Reverend Jimmy Creech, a Methodist minister who was defrocked for marrying same-sex couples and leader of Soulforce; Dr. Sylvia Rhue of the National Black Justice Coalition; Robin Tyler, organizer for gay rights marches in Washington, DC and founder of StopDr.Laura.com; Kathy Kelly, Marriage Equality Georgia; Musicians Tuck and Patti, who sang what Davina, Molly and the husband and wife duo agree is the theme song to the Marriage Equality Movement--“Love Warriors”; and politicians Mark Leno and Eleanor Holmes Norton. Marriage Equality Caravaners also told their stories.
Time and Parade magazines included the rally when citing the importance of marriage equality activism as one of the top 10 issues of 2004.
Marriage Equality Caravan Photo Gallery http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2004/10/15/caravangallery.DTL
Radio Netherlands` Love Exile on the Road, an award-winning radio program about the Marriage Equality Express and the plight of Americans forced out of the United States to be with their same-sex foreign partners http://www.radionetherlands.nl/features/cultureandhistory/10619811
San Francisco Chronicle Articles on Marriage Equality Caravan October 5, 2004 "Taking gay marriage on the road: Same-sex couples, supporters embark on bus trip across country" http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/chronicle/archive/2004/10/05/MNGKE9420M1.DTL
October 6, 2004 "Battle Over Same-Sex Marriage: Tales from the road of gay rights caravan Marriage advocates share their stories as they head to D.C." http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/chronicle/archive/2004/10/06/BAG9794CO21.DTL
October 7, 2004 "A Grim Anniversary" http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/chronicle/archive/2004/10/07/BAG9794ITJ1.DTL
October 8, 2004 "Tension Grips Caravan" http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/chronicle/archive/2004/10/08/BAG4M9613V1.DTL
October 9, 2004 "Freedom Riders Loaded with Tech" http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/chronicle/archive/2004/10/09/BAG9T96KVT1.DTL
October 10, 2004 "Marriage rights caravan gets lots of 'no thanks' from gays along road." http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/chronicle/archive/2004/10/10/MNGHK96QGI1.DTL
October 11, 2004 "Canvassing the nation for gay marriage rights: Activists visit hometowns en route to D.C. rally today" http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/chronicle/archive/2004/10/11/BAGMO9745E1.DTL
October 12, 2004 "Marriage equality caravan joins spirited rally in D.C.: Tired but happy, couples renew vows" http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/chronicle/archive/2004/10/12/MNGO497KFT1.DTL