Despite admonition from
minister, LGBT couples exchange marriage vows
Photos by Lauryn Farris, QSanAntonio.com, February 1 5, 2012
The Rev. Joe Sullivan, the Baptist minister who conducts mass weddings
on Valentine's Day, threatened LGBT couples with "acts of vengeance"
from God if they participated in the midnight ceremony.
Despite his admonition all of the gay couples stood firm and exchanged
vows along with hundreds of others on the steps of the Bexar County Courthouse.
The LGBT couples were there as part of a protest staged by the Direct
Action Network of San Antonio.
DANSA's Valentine's Day wedding action was organized in conjunction with
National Freedom to Marry Week. It was one of the many marriage-related
protests and events held throughout cities in Texas and across the country.
(See related stories below.)
Following is a report from activist Julie Pousson who was at the San Antonio
mass wedding at midnight on Valentine's Day:
"Minister Joe Sullivan said that our couples were there 'solely to
be repulsive,' and he threatened them with acts of vengeance on the part
of God if they did not leave the courthouse steps. Our beautiful couples
stood their ground for more than five minutes of hate speech and contradictory
logic from the good minister before he finally relented and performed
During his sermon, he told new wives to get up at two a.m. and bake lemon
pies for their husbands, if that's what they ask for. He told the men
to buy their wives new cars if they ask for them . . . demonstrating that
his bigotry is as wide as it is deep. This man does not represent our
beautiful city. He does not represent any loving God."
DANSA press conference
outlines Valentine's marriage protest
YouTube, February 13, 2012
couples participate in Bexar County marriage ceremony
WOAI-TV, February 14, 2012
Representatives for Direct Action Network of San Antonio made the announcement
Monday morning. But they want to make clear they will not protest, and
instead they will show support for marriage equality for all. John Dean
Domingue, a spokesperson for DANSA said, “There is a lack of marriage
equality in Texas and across the nation. Tonight we are reminded of the
Texas constitutional ban on the legal recognition of marriage”.
LGBT couples to exchange
vows at annual mass wedding
Photos by Lauryn Farris, QSanAntonio.com, February 9, 2012
Despite what Texas law may allow, some local LGBT couples will be among
those exchanging vows at midnight on Valentine's Day when the Rev. Joe
Sullivan conducts his annual mass wedding ceremony on the steps of the
Bexar County Courthouse.
This is the second year that the Direct Action Network of San Antonio
will be infiltrating Rev. Sullivan's mass wedding, an event he's presided
over for the past 20 years.
Rev. Sullivan is an ordained Baptist minister and pastor of All Believers
Church in San Antonio. For the past two decades he has conducted the Valentine's
group weddings, sometimes marrying up to 300 couples in one day. In order
for their union to be legal, couples are required to first get a valid
marriage license from the City Clerk.
All photos on this
page by Lauryn Farris are from last year's DANSA march and the mass wedding
ceremony at the Bexar County Courthouse.
“Last year we had six same-sex couples take their rightful place
on the steps of the courthouse with those who can legally marry, said
John Dean Domingue, a lead organizer for DANSA. "This year we hope
to see couples of many varieties there supporting marriage equality, not
just same-sex couples."
After last year's ceremony, when told that same-sex couples had participated
Rev. Sullivan replied, "They don’t have a license. If they
took vows, it really means nothing." However, some who took part
in the wedding say they beg to differ.
“The vows we took last year meant a lot to the couples who exchanged
them," says DANSA organizer Jay Morris, who participated in the ceremony
with his husband of 13 years. “It’s a shame that we can be
married in the eyes of our families, our churches, our neighbors and our
friends, but we are denied that recognition by the law.”
DANSA's Valentine's Day wedding action is organized as part of National
Freedom to Marry Week. Marriage equality activists around the country
are swarming county clerk's offices requesting marriage licenses or engaging
in events, like the one in San Antonio, to raise more awareness.
“In 2010, Equality Texas released a poll showing that over 60 percent
of Texans favor some form of legal recognition for same-sex couples,"
says Amanda Benton of DANSA, who is a straight ally. "On top of that,
our city of San Antonio leads the nation in same-sex couples raising children.
I’m hopeful for a future where if my children are LGBT and want
to marry they legally can.”