Arizona Youth Lead Rally at State Capitol after 97 Mile Walk Across Phoenix

Equality Walkers” and community allies call for marriage equality

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SOULFORCE PRESS RELEASE: August 15, 2009
For Immediate Release
Contact: Meg Sneed, Right to Marry: Arizona, 623-262-6696
Carlos Perez de Alejo, Soulforce Media Director, 321-948-3423
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(Phoenix, AZ) After a week-long, 97 mile walk across metropolitan Phoenix, Meg Sneed and five other young adults from Right to Marry: Arizona concluded their pilgrimage at the State Capitol Building–meeting with elected officials and leading a spirited rally in support of marriage equality.  Throughout the week of August 9-15th, the group brought the discussion of same-sex marriage to religious leaders, public officials, and a wide variety of citizens across Phoenix.

Despite an unwelcoming summer heat, averaging over 100 degrees, the Equality Walkers found a receptive audience.  “Conversations with groups on porches, or with those sitting on benches with their coolers will stay with me,” says Melissa Halverson, co-director of Right to Marry: Arizona.  “Cars stopped on their way to work to ask, ‘what ARE you all,’ as we carried our rainbow umbrellas, and gave an encouraging ‘good luck and good work!’”

The rally at the State Capitol marked the end of the second annual Right to Marry walk in Phoenix.  The idea for the campaign emerged from Sneed’s participation in a three-day walk for breast cancer research.  As a cancer survivor herself, Sneed found the walk inspiring and decided to adapt it to the controversial debate over marriage equality in Arizona, walking a mile for every year the state has denied equal rights to its lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) citizens.

“We walked for all those couples who are denied the right to love,” says Sneed.  “We walked for all those LGBT people who dream of the day that they will fall in love and the day that they will want to commit their lives to someone else.”

From Phoenix City Hall to the Arizona State Capitol, community allies walked the final mile with the Equality Walkers, closing the journey with a loud cry for marriage equality.  “We’ll be back every year until all the citizens of Arizona enjoy equal rights,” stated Sneed.  “We’ve waited over nine decades.  It’s time for us to stand up and say enough is enough!”

Sneed and her fellow Equality Walkers are members of Soulforce Q, the youth-driven arm of Soulforce, a national LGBT social justice organization.

Soulforce Q is the young adult division of Soulforce, a social justice organization that works to end political and religious oppression of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people through relentless nonviolent resistance. For more information, visitwww.soulforce.org/righttomarry    

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