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Keep Houston Press Free
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Freedom to Marry Marchers: No More Mr. Nice Gay

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Photos by Bradley Basker
See pics from yesterday's "Big Gay Wedding," the largest and longest-running commitment ceremony in Houston, also organized by the Foundation for Family and Marriage Equality.

Members of the Foundation for Family and Marriage Equality, along with a crowd of protesters, shouted "congratulations!" at a heterosexual couple entering the Harris County Clerk's office. They celebrated the moment of matrimony only minutes before being denied the same marriage license on the basis of homosexuality.

"We do this every year, and we want the freedom to protect our families," said FFME President Barry Ovellette.

The Valentine's Day Downtown March began with gay and lesbian couples applying for licenses, already knowing they'd be turned away. After being denied legalization, which they say would grant them 1,138 federal marriage protections, they marched to City Hall chanting "What do we want? Equal rights! When do we want them? Now!"

Among the marchers was a couple, Rob Martinez and Joe Goins. They've participated in the march for the past three years, and from the looks of their sign, "No More Mr. Nice Gay," they're ready for justice.

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"We will continue coming here until we no longer have to," said Martinez.

"Our relationship has just as much importance as anyone else's," said Goins.

Today's march for civil rights ended with hugs, cheers and photos on the steps of City Hall, but the right to licenses, of course, remained on hold.

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