Decision Day Rally in Erie

With less than 24 hours' notice, almost 200 people turned out in Perry Square on Tuesday, May 20 to celebrate Judge John E Jones III striking down Pennsylvania's so-called Defense of Marriage Act. Marriage equality is now the rule of the land in Pennsylvania, and Governor Corbett has said that Pennsylvania will NOT appeal the federal ruling. Speakers included Mike Mahler of Erie Gay News and NW PA Pride Alliance; Atty. Richard Ruth, legal director for ACLU NW PA; Kathy and Christina Czarnecki-Smith, who married in New York state; Rich McCarty, senior pastor at Community United Church and president of Greater Erie Alliance for Equality and who also read a supportive statement from State Sen. Sean Wiley; Rev. Steve Aschmann of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Erie; David Moore, founder and president of Marriage Equality for Pennsylvania; Doris Cipolla, who had lost her partner Char to cancer 9 years and 1 month before and who was glad that other PA couples will not have to have similar experiences; Susan Woodland, President of NW PA NOW, and Joshua Szczesny, secretary and co-founder of Marriage Equality for PA. Also in attendance were Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper, proud mother of a gay son and also Erie County Councilmember Jay Breneman. Erie Sisters Transgender Support Group also turned out in support. Kathy Dahlkemper announced that a same sex couple had already applied for a marriage license that day. The couple was Michael Tkach, board member of Greater Erie Alliance for Equality and Bill Lechner, who have been together for 29 years. Also in the crowd were attorneys Jason Owen and Alison Scarpitti. Alison is legal counsel for Greater Erie Alliance for Equality and also served as attorney for Wendy and TJ Titus, who drove to Montgomery County to obtain a marriage license when that county was allowing same sex couples to get licenses earlier this year.

There was media coverage by both local TV news crews and also Erie Times News. Special thanks to ACLU and Equality PA for providing materials and helping with preparations.

Special thanks go out to NW PA Pride Alliance board members who helped with running the event, Season Crannell, Alex Sphon, Daniel Thomas and Kelly Kidd. Thanks to our photographers, NW PA Pride Alliance board member Matthew Robison and Erie Gay News co-editor Deb Spilko. Special thanks to Christopher Strayer for bringing rainbow sherbet, an especially appropriate treat.


Also view photos here.

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Crowd at the Decision Day PA Rally in Perry Square - Posted May 20, 2014

Kathy and Tina interview at Decision Day PA Rally - Posted May 20, 2014

Doris Cipolla interview at Decision Day PA Rally - Posted May 20, 2014


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