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    Posted August 6, 2014 by
    Cincinnati, Ohio

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    Marriage Equality Cases Heard by 6th Circuit Appeals Court


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     R.J. McKay said, "I believe in marriage equality. My partner of 16 years, Todd Figgins and I were devastated when the marriage ban was put in place 10 years ago. We have been fighting for our marriage rights ever since. These cases are steps toward justice and move us closer to realizing full marriage equality."

    On Wednesday a three-judge panel of the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals heard lawyers from four states defend their same-sex marriage bans. McKay, who is an advocate for marriage equality, captured these images at a rally outside of the Cincinnati Federal Courthouse in Ohio, the same day. Read more about the hearing on CNN.

    - taliaday, CNN iReport producer

    On Wednesday, August 6, 2014 in Cincinnati, Ohio, the US Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit heard testimony for six separate cases that are up for appeal after being won by LGBT families and advocates. These cases were from four different states: Ohio, Michigan, Tennessee, and Kentucky. This is the second major round of court hearings for the participants. They all won at their first hearings, and after this their cases may end up at the US Supreme Court.


    To mark the occasion and to spread the word of marriage equality, Freedom to Marry Ohio and Support Marriage Equality in Ohio hosted a large rally in downtown Cincinnati. The rally was held in Fountain Square just one block from the Federal Courthouse where the hearings were taking place.


    During the rally, the crowd heard speeches from local and state politicians, state political candidates, numerous clergy from many denominations, union leaders, school board members, LGBT people with disabilities, military families, and many more. It kicked off just after noon and lasted a few hours.


    Other than speeches, there were three notable happenings. First was a beautiful performance of ‘Lean on Me’ sung by a talented young woman. Then the organizers held a mixed gender commitment ceremony. It was said to be the first of its kind on Fountain Square. There were at least a dozen couples who made life commitments to each other. They were led in the ceremony by clergy members representing about four different denominations. Then, after that ceremony, the entire crowd marched to and around the Federal Courthouse. Some reports said that the march stretched three blocks long, surrounding the Courthouse on three sides. The Courthouse was surrounded with love and positive energy.


    Cincinnati was definitely in the national spotlight on Wednesday, and the LGBTQA community came out in droves to show their support. Some estimates put the rally attendance between 600 and 1,000 people, making it the largest pro-LGBT rally in Ohio in recent history. Freedom to Marry Ohio and Support Marriage Equality in Ohio both put in a huge amount of work to pull off a professional rally. They had a long list of sponsors from multiple cities and states.


    Although marriage equality opponents vowed to hold prayer vigils and other events around town, only one man showed up at the Square to show his opposition. He hid in his pick-up truck and drove in circles around the block towing his trailer full of ‘sinners repent’ rhetorical bologna. The lonely opponent was drowned out, not only by the LGBTQA crowd, but by the other passersby who drove past the square. Drivers of all ages, races, genders, etc gave encouraging waves, supportive honks, and countless thumbs up for the supportive signs and rainbow flags that lined the sidewalks. The supporters outnumbered the opponents by a long shot.


    Today was a great day in Cincinnati, and hopefully we will be there to celebrate another great day when the 6th Circuit Court returns a decision upholding the original judgments in all six cases. Today was such a different feeling than the one so many LGBT citizens felt when the Ohio Marriage Ban was voted into history in November 2004. Soon that ban will itself be history. For now we will keep up the good fight knowing we will end up on the right side of history!

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