PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – For Valentine’s Day many couples will buy flowers, eat heart-shaped chocolates or go out to dinner.
But for some local couples the day will also be about taking a stand.
Local same-sex couples will show up at the City-County building downtown starting at 10 a.m. to apply for marriage licenses.
“Going to the chapel and we’re gonna get married.”
Remember that oldie by The Shirelles and The Dixie Cups.
On this Valentine’s Day, the Great Hall of the City-County Building stood in for the Chapel of Love where a couple of couples were ready with their $80 (including tax) to get a marriage license.
“I love this woman, and I will be with her forever,” said Colleen Arbaczewski. “I’d marry her in every state.”
Actually, Colleen and Tamala Arbaczewski, of Coraopolis, are already married in Massachusetts.
The same is true for Heidi and Diane Anderson, of McKees Rocks. They are legally married in New York.
But as Pennsylvanians, they want their own state’s blessing on their unions.
“Happy Valentine’s Day,” Director of Court Records Kate Barkman told the Arbaczewskis as they entered her office.
They already knew what Barkman would tell them.
“Unfortunately, because of the state of law in Pennsylvania, we cannot grant you a marriage license,” she said.
While Pennsylvania law does not recognize same-sex marriage, these women – in making a point – are pioneering for equality as partners for life.
“It’s not just love; it’s every day,” says Colleen. “Getting up, going to work and taking care of our home and family.”
“I don’t want to wait 10 years down the road. I want it now,” added Heidi.
Heidi and Diane, who’ve been together for 10 years, are also raising two nearly-grown children. Both women were brought up in bi-racial families and have seen barriers fall before.
“And then with Virginia v. Loving interracial marriages were legalized, and then it opened the door,” said Diane.
They’re asking people to sign a Valentine. Then, they’re going to send it to the State House hoping to put some pressure on for passage of House Bill 1686.
“The bill is currently in committee in the House. We need a hearing, we need a vote,” Melissa Watson, of Marriage Equality for Pennsylvania, said.
“Because one day, it’ll happen,” said Colleen.
Same-Sex Marriage Activists Kick Off Pa. Campaign (12/11/13)
Judge Sets Same-Sex Marriage Lawsuit Trial Date (11/23/13)
Braddock Mayor Continuing To Marry Same-Sex Couples (8/15/13)