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04/14/2008

Wannabe brides extend their engagement

by Jeremy Hooper

Picture 8-83Last September, lesbian couple Kate Burns and Sheila Schroeder protested the state of Colorado's gay-exclusive marriage laws by staging a sit-in at the Denver Clerk and Recorder Office after being denied a marriage license. And then they, being the dangerous threats to society that they are, were promptly arrested.

Well today, the next chapter in the ladies' should-be-unnecessary legal battle begins, as the duo is in a Denver Court challenging the trespassing charges that were brought against them as a result of their righteous civil disobedience. Press release after the jump:

TRIAL BEGINS FOR LESBIAN COUPLE ARRESTED AT DENVER MARRIAGE LICENSE OFFICE

Local Faith Leaders Support Demand for Civil Marriage

**********************************************

Media Advisory: April 10, 2008 For Immediate Release

Contact(s): Kate Burns & Sheila Schroeder, [email protected] , 303-806-8444
Attorney Mari Newman; Killmer, Lane & Newman LLP, 303-571-1000, [email protected]
Christopher Hubble, Soulforce Colorado State Organizer, 303-241-3225, [email protected]

******************************************

(Denver, CO) – The trial for lesbian couple Kate Burns and Sheila Schroeder is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Monday, April 14th at the Denver City and County Building located at 1437 Bannock Street, in Courtroom 117M. The two were arrested for trespassing on September 24, 2007 when they peacefully remained at the Denver Clerk and Recorder Office after being denied the opportunity to apply for a marriage license. Burns and Schroeder will be represented by lead counsel Mari Newman of Killmer, Lane & Newman, LLP. Their sit-in protest was an effort to achieve basic fairness and marriage equality for all of Colorado's families. Numerous religious leaders have registered their endorsement for the couple by submitting affidavits in support of marriage equality.

“Ms. Burns and Ms. Schroeder are proud participants in one of America’s greatest traditions: speaking out publicly against injustice. Strong and committed individuals like Kate and Sheila are responsible for some of our greatest civil rights achievements from the signing of the Declaration of Independence, to the end of racial segregation, to the legalization of multiracial marriages. One wonders what the current state of our country would be without civil rights heroes like Kate and Sheila. I am proud to represent them," said attorney Mari Newman.

When asked about her decision to participate in their September 24 action, Sheila said, "In the four years since my partner and I had our commitment ceremony, we have experienced numerous acts of discrimination. We are denied the ability to file taxes together. We experienced panic when I had a potentially dangerous health crisis and we had no security that she could attend to me in the hospital. We have spent thousands of dollars in legal fees to combine our property and insure our rights as a couple—when heterosexual couples are granted all of this free without question. This discrimination is unconstitutional and unconscionable. It is my patriotic duty to stand against this discrimination. The world needs more love and more support for loving couples. My church supports this fundamental notion and now it's time my government does too."

Speaking about the continuation of this campaign in Denver and her participation in the action on Sep 24, Kate Burns said, "As a life-long Unitarian Universalist, I seek to practice my religion by marrying my life partner in the church where I grew up. My religion does not condemn love simply because it happens between partners of the same gender. Legislation that prevents me from marrying my partner interferes with the free exercise of my faith tradition and imposes the viewpoint of one religious view—which opposes our union—on all citizens. My union with my partner, Sheila, is a life-long commitment founded on love and respect for each other. I will not allow an unjust law tell me that we are not worthy of being married. Following the principles of nonviolent resistance, I will do whatever it takes to shed light on the immoral and discriminatory legislation that denies basic human rights to us as a couple, and to all lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people."

>> WHO: Lesbian couple Kate Burns and Sheila Schroeder; Attorney Mari Newman of Killmer, Lane & Newman, LLP.

>> WHAT: Trial for trespassing charges during peaceful nonviolent protest on September 24, 2007.

>> WHEN: Monday, April 14, 8:30 a.m. MDT

>> WHERE: Denver City and County Building, 1437 Bannock Street, Courtroom 117M.

Video of the September 24, 2007 marriage equality action:

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Your thoughts

arent they protected under free speech to wage a sit in?

http://www.queersunited.blogspot.com

Posted by: queerunity | Apr 14, 2008 1:45:46 PM

I love that they are religious! The argument she articulated (Uhm... What about my freedom of religion?) is one of our strongest and hardest to counter. (Though of course one would think "HEY IT'S NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS!" or "E-Q-U-A-L-I-T-Y" should be good enough.) Does anyone know if they are supported by Lambda Legal, or any of the other big legal orgs?

Posted by: Joe | Apr 14, 2008 7:49:54 PM

Good Luck: Kate and Sheila and Mari. This will be interesting to follow. I hope someone in PFLAG Colorado gets on this an blogs about this Colorado family.

Posted by: LOrion | Apr 14, 2008 8:30:06 PM

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