March 3, 2014
For years same-sex couples have marched to the court house seeking the ability to be legally married. This year couples marched to the clerk's office of both the Charlottesville and Albemarle County Circuit Court.
"I asked the clerk if she would give us a marriage license," says Andre Hakes, holding the hands of her partner.
"Both clerks said they could not, but that they would like to," says Catherine Gillespie.
Every year they are turned away, yet couples still keep hope alive that one day that will all change.
"Andre and I have been together for 18 years and have had most of the markers that many people do in a long term relationship and we want to be able to protect that family, have the rights of other families," says Gillespie. "Marriage is the way that we can do that."
Gay marriage is not legal in Virginia. However, recently attorney general, Mark Herring, challenged that ban on gay marriage, which could put the Commonwealth on a path to become the first southern state to allow same-sex unions.
This year members of Charlottesville Pride decided to raise awareness for same-sex marriage on Ash Wednesday. They asked people to give up hate and take up love for lent.
"Today on Ash Wednesday we recognize that we are all made of dust, star dust as I said earlier, and to dust to our return, which really tells us that we are all created equally," says Reverend Dr. Melanie Miller from the Sojourner United Church of Christ in Charlottesville. "We are here to today to remind lawmakers that we want equality."
"We're hoping that by our 20th anniversary this will be rectified in the state of Virginia, hopefully before that," says Gillespie. "Then we will be able to celebrate properly and gain the full rights that we think our relationship deserves."
Some couples have been waiting for decades to tie the knot, and will keep waiting until they can legally wed in the Commonwealth.