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Minister who performed mass wedding compares LGBT couples to animals
QSanAntonio.com, February 20, 2012
The minister who annually performs mass weddings on the steps of the Bexar County Courthouse told the San Antonio Current that the LGBT couples who participated in the midnight ceremony were "disturbing and almost animalistic."

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 the wedding.

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 

 

Gay 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.”