Gay Nup Sit-In Sparks Arrests

Denver residents Kate Burns and Sheila Schroeder found themselves in cuffs after a Focus On The Facts sit-in for gay marriage rights.

Read the entire Soulforce press release after the jump. See more shots from the action here.

(Denver, CO) – At approximately 5 p.m. on September 24, 2007, Kate Burns and Sheila Schroeder of Englewood, Colo., were arrested and removed in police custody from the Wellington E. Webb Municipal Building. The couple had entered the Denver Clerk and Recorder Office to demand a marriage license. After requesting an application and being denied on the basis of state and federal law, Burns and Schroeder refused to leave, insisting that marriage laws which deny full equality to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are an example of religion-based oppression and undermine America’s tradition of religious pluralism protected by the U.S. Constitution.

The event drew at least 20 supportive observers. One anonymous bystander made a point to enter the office and thank Burns and Schroeder for taking this stand.

The two were issued citations for trespassing and were released without bail at 5:26 p.m.

During an interview preceding her arrest, 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.

Kate and Sheila’s minister, Rev. Mike Morran of Denver’s First Unitarian Church and a strong supporter of full marriage equality for LGBT people, accompanied the couple into the clerk and recorder’s office. “I am proud to stand on the side of love in support of Kate and Sheila. From a church point of view, marriage is a sacrament and the state should stay out of it. This civil right–the freedom to marry–should apply to all citizens.”

When asked about her decision to participate in this action, Schroeder explained that the couple has faced numerous acts of discrimination since their commitment ceremony four years ago.

“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,” said Schroeder.

This marriage equality direct action is one action in the ongoing Focus On The Facts campaign, a nonviolent campaign which Soulforce launched at the beginning of 2007. Focus On The Facts seeks to end religion-based oppression of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Coloradans.