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A Celebration of Courageous Love: National Standing on the Side of Love Day 2011

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Feb 15, 2011

On February 14th, and the days surrounding, thousands of you took to your communities to celebrate the words and deeds of unsung heroes and to continue the effort to promote equality, acceptance, diversity, and inclusion.

The feedback has been impressive. The many photos, vidoes, and stories already in, and the many more still coming are awe inspiring. This National Standing on the Side of Love Day has been a thrilling success, and stories of marches, actions, services, and ceremonies have been heard across the country with in local and national news such as the Washington Post, the Ogden Standard-Examiner, and Fox News.

Below we’ve compiled some of the videos that have appeared in the news and photos and stories that participants have submitted. Take a moment to read some of the inspiring stories of courageous love that were celebrated this National Standing on the Side of Love Day. We have also created this slideshow from photos that event participants and hosts captured and submitted. You can still share your photos.


The First Unitarian Church of Providence endorsed marriage equality.

Campaign Manager Dan Furmansky was a featured speaker at the Equality Maryland rally in Annapolis for LGBT civil rights, along with leaders in the state legislature and the Maryland Attorney General. That night, the UU Legislative Ministry of Maryland dropped off hundreds of Valentines to legislators in anticipation of a legislative vote on marriage equality.

Tennessee Valley UU Church held a SSL-themed worship service, followed by a forum with Campaign Manager Dan Furmansky, during which they received a Courageous Love award, along with Westside UU Church.  Later in the day, TVUUC held an interfaith forum entitled “Spiritual Approaches to Polarized Politics” and presented a check for $11,000 to a local homeless services organization.”

In Richmond, Virginia, dozens of gay couples attempted to file marriage certificates Monday protesting against Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage as part of National Standing on the Side of Love Day.

At the Minnesota capitol, the UU Church of Minnetonka Coming of Age class participated in the Freedom to Marry Day Faith Rally.

This composite shows scenes from the Standing on the Side of Love service held at the Allen Avenue Unitarian Church in Portland, Maine on February 13, 2011.

On Sunday, First Parish Cambridge Unitarian Universalist held their second annual Standing on the Side of Love Day worship service.  Their minister, Rev. Fred Small, invited leaders of the Student Immigrant Movement (SIM) to share their stories in the pulpit.  Our Immigration Task Force gave SIM a courageous love award for their tireless advocacy for the DREAM Act, their round-the-clock weeks-long vigil that defeated anti-immigrant state legislation, and their loving support and leadership of their community. Following the service, we gathered 150 signatures on cards and petitions for delivery to Gov. Deval Patrick at an event on Monday urging him to keep Massachusetts out of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Secure Communities program known as S-Comm that is leading to more detentions and deportations and tearing apart immigrant families.

Members of the Unitarian Church of Lincoln gathered in front of the Federal Building in Lincoln, Nebraska on February 14, 2011. Their message was clear – they choose to Stand on the Side of Love in supporting marriage equality rights in Nebraska. While they demonstrated, many passers by showed their support by honking. They were even joined by several people off the street. The church’s Standing on the Side of Love spokesperson, D Moritz was interviewed by University of Nebraska, Lincoln newspaper, The Daily Nebraskan. The article ran on the front page of the Feb 15th edition of that newspaper. Find out more about the Unitarian Church of Lincoln, and how they stand on the side of love on their website:http://www.unitarianlincoln.org/. To read the Daily Nebraskan article, go to dailynebraskan.com.

150 people from 1st U of Orlando and the larger community—both LGBTQ & allies—Stand on the Side of Love and form the shape of a huge heart to demonstrate that at the heart of the issue of equality is love.

Photo by Max Amon.

Courageous Love, 3rd Year Running

For the third year in a row, committed couple Rachel Gardiner (left) and Nicki Drumb of 1st U of Orlando applied for (and were denied) a marriage license at the Orange Co. courthouse, and then organized their third annual “Human Heart: An OUTright Love-In”—a huge human heart for human rights, to celebrate and lift up courageous love.

Unitarian Church in Westport hosts The Laramie Project and raises scholarship funds for the True Colors Conference, the largest LGBT Youth Conference in the country.

Betsy Parsons, on the right, receives a love award from the Rev. Myke Johnson at the Allen Avenue Unitarian Universalist Church in Portland, Maine.

We followed worship by making Valentine cards for ALL the members and friends of First Parish, UU, Northboro. They are posted in the Parish Hall for all to see the LOVE we feel for each other.

Unitarian Church North in Mequon, Wisconsin, hosted a free screening of award-winning documentary 9500 Liberty, a film on immigration law, on Saturday, February 12.  Sixty people attended the screening, which was followed by a discussion with a panel of experts on immigration issues.  9500 Liberty chronicles a divisive immigration debate in Prince William County, Virginia, which passed, then repealed, a law similar to Arizona’s controversial law. During the months-long debate, citizens grappled with the law’s economic and other impacts on the community.

After a church service on November 11, 2010 where all were invited to wear their SSL t-shirts, members of the Albany, NY First Unitarian Universalist Society went outside to commemorate their year-long commitment to the Standing of the Side of Love campaign.

On “National Standing on the Side of Love Day, 2011,” we gave awards to Lanny S. Kutakoff (the Executive Director of the “Partakers College Behind Bars Program”), and the 3 people from our church who were our first brave and life-asserting prison mentor visitors 10 years ago, Frank Mercier, Paul Coolidge, and the Rev. Rachel Tedesco (who was our student minister at the time). In the picture are Janna Mercier (who accepted the award for her late father, Frank Mercier), Paul Coolidge, Lanny Kutakoff and Rachel Tedesco.

This Giant Human Valentine event in Duluth MN was organized by Peace UCC Church, a frequent partner of the UU congregation of Duluth in community peace and justice events. Quite a few UU’s are part of the big heart! Besides the Youtube video, a photo of the heart was on the front page of the Duluth News Tribune and a couple of TV stations were there also.

Here are some of our Anchorage UUs—honoring Valentines Day by Standing on the Side of Love! Next week’s sermon by the Rev. Beatrice Hitchcock is “GLBT Youth & Bullying: It Will Get Better.”

Volunteers from Valley UU in Chandler, UU Congregation of Phoenix, and West Valley UU in Glendale hosted the first annual “Dancing on the Side of Love for Valentine’s Day” event.

Members of the Mt. Diablo Unitarian Universalist Church witnessing in Walnut Creek, CA for Valentine’s Day 2011.

UUF of Statesboro, Ga honored Dr. Fred Richter with a Courageous Love Award during a Valentine Supper Party in his honor. They honored professor Dr Fred Richter for his “Courageous Love” over three decades, mentoring GLBTQ students, advising the first gay student organization and  helping to convince the college administration to add sexual orientation to its nondiscrimination policy, making our town a safer place for GLBTQ students, faculty and staff. Dr Richter also helped establish the first local nonprofit agency serving people with HIV/AIDS.

In Waco, Texas the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Waco had a reading and used the sermon by The Rev. Angela Herrera on the resources page. The choir sang Holly Near’s “Kids Are Gonna Love (who they darn well please)” and they played Amy Carol Webb’s “Stand” song for opening music.

The Advocate ran a story about our efforts titled: Be Mine, Marriage Equality. In the article they said:

On Valentine’s Day, the Unitarian Universalist Association proposes marriage equality—”a day of love and acceptance for all people,” says campaign manager Dan Furmansky.

For the second consecutive year, the liberal religious denomination has declared Valentine’s Day National Standing on the Side of Love Day, reimagining it “as a day of love and acceptance for all people,” says Dan Furmansky, campaign manager for the UUA’s Standing on the Side of Love effort, which focuses on LGBT rights, immigrant rights, and religious freedom and diversity.

You can read the full article here:

On Sunday, February 13, members of UUCSR of all ages observed National Standing on the Side of Love Day by signing a Valentine to Rep. Peter King. Participants asked him to stand on the side of love with us and our Muslim sisters and brothers by canceling his planned Congressional hearings.

You can read stories from National Standing on the Side of Love Day in the Boston Globe, on Alternet, in the San Francisco Chronicle, and many more in the news section of our website.

This is just a snapshot of what we saw. If you don’t see your event or action, please tell us about it in the comments below and share your videos and submit your photos.

One Response to “A Celebration of Courageous Love: National Standing on the Side of Love Day 2011”

  1. Jan Elders says:

    This was an inspiring report! Thank you too for putting your videos on YouTube so that those of us in the Apple world (iPods iPads & iPhones)
    could enjoy them too. Wish the UUA would follow your lead instead of using flash. Glad there was such wonderful participation!!

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