Friday
November 4, 2005

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Volume 33
Issue 44

 
 
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Marriage Equality plaintiffs; youth activist win ACLU awards at dinner
Marriage Equality plaintiffs; youth activist win ACLU awards at dinner
ACLU Bill of Rights Celebration Dinner to feature comic strip artist

Nineteen Lesbian and Gay couples who are seeking legal recognition of their right to marry have been named recipients of the ACLU-WA's 2005 Civil Libertarian Award. Tristan Bullington, a student at Washington State University, is the recipient of the Youth Activist Award.

The awards will be presented at the annual ACLU Bill of Rights Celebration Dinner on Saturday, Nov.19 at 6 p.m. at the Red Lion Inn, 1415 Fifth Avenue in Seattle. Tickets for the Dinner are $50. To make a reservation, visit www.aclu-wa.org or call the ACLU at (206) 624-2184.

The event's featured speaker will be Dan Perkins, better known as Tom Tomorrow, creator of the satirical comic strip "This Modern World." With biting wit, Perkins skewers sacred cows and provides sharp commentary on the hot-button issues of our times. His work regularly appears in numerous publications across the country, including the Seattle Weekly.

The Civil Libertarian Award honors people who have made a recent outstanding contribution to civil liberties in Washington state. This year's recipients are plaintiffs in two lawsuits (Castle v. State and Andersen v. King County) seeking to overturn the state's Defense of Marriage Act, which denies marriage equality to same-sex couples. In the suits, the ACLU is representing 11 couples from around the state, and Lambda Legal and the Northwest Women's Law Center are representing 8 couples from King County.

In 2004 the Superior Courts in King and Thurston County found that the state's ban on marriage for same-sex couples violates the constitutional guarantee of equal treatment for all. An appeal of the cases is pending before the Washington Supreme Court.

"These couples have courageously stepped forward to represent all people in Washington in a matter of fundamental fairness and equality. They have advanced the cause of equal marriage rights by speaking with the media and in public forums, opening themselves and their families to controversy and public scrutiny," said ACLU Board member Suzanne Holland, who chaired the Awards Committee.

Recipients of the Civil Libertarian Award are Marge Ballack and Diane Lantz of Spokane; Jeff Kingsbury and Alan Fuller of Olympia; Pamela Coffey and Valerie Tibbett of Friday Harbor; Tom Duke and Phuoc Lam of Port Townsend; Karrie and Kathy Cunningham of Graham in Pierce County; Gary Murrell and Michael Gyde of Hoquiam; Brenda Bauer and Celia Castle, Kevin Chestnut and Curtis Crawford, Judy Fleissner and Chris Gamache; Allan Henderson and John Berquist, Lauri Conner and Leja Wright, Heather Andersen and Leslie Christian, Peter Ilgenfritz and David Shull, Johanna Bender and Sherri Kokx, Janet Helson and Betty Lundquist, David and Michael Serkin-Poole, Vegavahina Subramaniam and Vaijayanthimala Nagarajan, Elizabeth Reis and Barbara Steele, and Michelle Esguerra and Boo Torres de Esguerra, all of King County.

The Youth Activist Award honors a young person or group of young people whose activism exemplifies work to defend and extend liberty and justice for all. Energized by his experience at the ACLU's 2004 National Membership Conference in San Francisco, Tristan Bullington took the initiative to found an ACLU student club at Washington State University.

Under his leadership, the club has maintained an active presence on the Pullman campus. It has screened the documentary Unconstitutional, sponsored information tables about the PATRIOT Act and marriage equality, and participated in the Tunnel of Oppression (an event to raise awareness of social justice issues). When he saw that the FBI was targeting Muslims in the community, Bullington undertook to distribute the ACLU's "Know Your Rights" cards.

"Tristan Bullington has been an outstanding leader in organizing other students to advocate for civil liberties. He recognizes the importance of grass-roots activism and understands the need to reach out to others to protect civil liberties," said the ACLU's Suzanne Holland.



A ACLU of Washington press release

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