5 ACTIVISTS ARRESTED FOR BLOCKING TRAFFIC IN FRONT OF GOVERNOR CUOMO'S OFFICE
BALLOONS & MARRIAGE EQUALITY BANNER STILL FLOATING ON GRAND CENTRAL STATION CEILING
New York, NY – The LGBTQ activist organization Queer Rising escalated its protest against New York’s discriminatory marriage laws late this afternoon, unleashing series of direct action protests across Midtown Manhattan that ended in the arrest of five of its members.
Balloons carrying a large sign calling on New Yorkers put pressure on their government to demand marriage equality are now floating just under the Grand Central Station’s landmark ceiling, and five people have been arrested for blocking rush-hour traffic just outside Governor Cuomo's Manhattan office, at East 41 Street and 3rd Avenue. The Queer Rising members unfurled a 75-foot banner that reads, “Marriage Equality NOW! Call Cuomo: 518-474-8390!!!”
Five members of Queer Rising members handcuffed and chained themselves in the middle of the street and refused to leave the demonstration. Those arrested were: Natasha Dillon (26, lesbian activist); Kevin Donohue (51, gay Jewish activist); Melissa Kleckner (31, straight ally); Ali Lozano (20, lesbian student activist); Robert Moore (30, gay Mormon activist).
“My religious beliefs require that I stand up for the underdog - even when that underdog is me,” said Donohue. “Marriage rights go way beyond the wedding and encompass everything from custody rights to hospital visitation rights to pension and inheritance rights; in short, the protective legal framework straight families take for granted. Inequality under law is unjust, and now is the time we must end it.”
Drag Queen Weddings for Equality organized a separate event at Grand Central Station, a drag wedding in which approximately ten drag queens officiated and enacted a wedding, educating commuters about the need for marriage equality and inviting them to march in solidarity to the governor's office.
In January, Cuomo declared, “I want to be the Governor who signs the law that makes equality a reality in the state of New York.” The New York State Budget deadline was March 31 and there is still no confirmation that there will be consideration for marriage equality.
Unwilling to wait any longer for equal rights and protection from the state of New York, Queer Rising is calling on all the New Yorkers to call the governor’s office and voice their support for marriage equality.
Melissa Kleckner, another arrestee, said, "When my husband and I married five years ago, we were automatically granted 1,324 rights and privileges that the LGBTQ community is currently not afforded. I refuse to let my daughter grow up in a world where a government can tell a segment of its population that they are 'less than.' This is not a fight for ‘gay’ rights; it is a fight for human rights. It is my hope that Cuomo and the rest of the powers that be realize that the straight community is also here, we are just as angry, and we will no longer stand on the sidelines. We are coming out for equality."
Formed in the winter of 2009, Queer Rising is dedicated to achieving queer rights through nonviolent direct action. For more information on Queer Rising visit www.QueerRising.com