Are you familiar with Tennessee Senate Joint Resolution 134? Better known as "ido4life Traditional Marriage Day," the Tennessee legislature, in its infinite wisdom, designated August 31 as a day to "commemorate certain individuals, groups, organizations, ideas and ideals" – namely the institution of traditional marriage. Because there haven't been 364 other days of that celebration in Tennessee since . . . forever?
You see according to your elected officials, "married women have lower rates of depression and are more financially secure" (possibly because they do not make as much as their male counterparts) and "the children of traditional marriage have fewer emotional issues" (because 2011 reported divorce rates in Tennessee neared 50 percent and no child of divorce has emotional issues).
In response to this celebration, the GLBT community and its allies are gathering across Tennessee to support Marriage Equality. Designated Marriage Equality Day by Tennessee Equality Project (TEP), TEP states in their proclamation that "the best way to uphold the value of marriage in our state is to open this venerable institution to committed, loving couples regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity" and "studies are beginning to show the public health and economic benefits of marriage equality to the people of jurisdictions where marriage equality is enshrined in law."
Just last week, working jointly with community lawyers, TEP encouraged couples to apply for marriage licenses as the first step to Tennessee's same-sex marriage legal challenge.
Join TEP and the community across Tennessee with events in Nashville, Memphis, Knoxville, Cookeville, Chattanooga and Madison County. Details for events below:
Friday August 30:
Ice Cream for Love (Knoxville, Tn): This family friendly event will be an ice cream sundae social like Knoxville has never seen. TEP and GLSEN East TN are teaming up to serve you big scoops of equality and cool treats. The event will take place in Tyson Park from 6 – 8 p.m..
Cost per individual is $10 or $25 per family; funds benefit both organizations. Oak Ridge safe schools advocate Marcel Neergaard will be honored for his work. The event will also feature a performance by Knoxville Gay Men's Chorus. Something to sing about, indeed! RSVP here.
Saturday August 31:
Nashville Rally: TEP joins forces with the HRC Nashville Steering Committee for their Marriage Equality Day rally. The event will take place at Public Square at the Metro Courthouse. The event begins at 4 p.m.. Attendees are encouraged to make signs for marriage equality. RSVP here.
Memphis Rally: Join Memphis and the Shelby County Commission Saturday evening beginning at 7 p.m. at the First Congregational Church (1000 S. Cooper St.). Attendees are encouraged to make signs for marriage equality. RSVP here.
Chattanooga Rally: Join Chattanooga when they hold their rally outside the Mayor's office from 2 – 4 p.m. (101 E. 11th St. #200). The event will host guest speakers to include: Matt Nevels from PFLAG Chattanooga, Chuck Hill and Mario Forte, Kat Cooper from Collegedale, TN, Ardyce Mercier and Marcus Ellsworth. Additionally there will be live entertainment. RSVP here.
Upper Cumberland Rally: TEP Upper Cumberland Committee will gather at the Putnam County Courthouse from 5:30 -7 p.m.. Attendees are encouraged to make signs for marriage equality. RSVP here.
West Tennessee FamilyFun Fest: West Tennessee hosts its 2nd Annual FamilyFun Fest on August 31 at Phoenix Christian Church (400 Exchange Rd., Wildersville, TN Exit 108 off I-40). Sponsored by the TEP Foundation, the event will feature live music, raffles, silent/live auction, children's activities and more. Event begins at 2 p.m.. RSVP here.