Valentine’s Day is being marked around the world with a series of rallies and campaigns backing equal marriage rights and personal freedoms for gays.
In Scotland, where a public consultation on gay marriage rights closed late last year, marchers will be heading to the parliament building in Edinburgh to deliver a giant greetings card to First Minister Alex Salmond.
Salmond’s SNP government has said it is “minded” to lift the ban on gay marriages in the country and all four opposition leaders have pledged their support to the move.
The Equality Network’s card reads:
“Roses are white,
Thistles are blue,
We support equal marriage,
And we hope the Scottish Government will too.”
Tom French, the group’s Policy Coordinator said: “This Valentine’s Day hundreds of equal marriage supporters from across the country will be marching on Holyrood to send a clear message to the Scottish Government; we demand full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens, and we will settle for nothing less.
“With the backing of a majority of Scots and cross-party support in parliament, the Scottish Government now have all the backing they need to bring forward legislation to lift the ban on same-sex marriage.”
Scotland is currently analysing responses to the public consultation.
In Ireland, a protest by LGBT Noise will be going on outside the parliament buildings.
Noise Organiser Max Krzyzanowski said: “With 169 legal differences between Civil Partnership and Civil Marriage, the Civil Partnership Act 2011 has only served to cement inequality in Irish society by offering the LGBT community a law that is separate and lesser.”
In Australia, equal marriage supporters have marked Valentine’s Day by sending 3,000 red roses to Parliament House, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard personally opposes gay marriages but her party voted to change its platform in favour of equal rights last year. She received 500 of the romantic flowers.
In Italy, politicians also received chocolates and flowers.
Premier Mario Monti and ministers were sent the gifts as a “reminder” that gay and lesbian couples have “no rights” Gay Center spokesperson Fabrizio Marrazzo told Ansa.it.
In the US among a host of national events, gay couples will appear at the San Francisco City Hall to ask for marriage licenses.
It is the fourteenth year the request has been made but this year follows an appeal ruling that the Proposition 8 ballot measure which removed gay couples’ rights to marriage was unconstitutional.
Stuart Gaffney, Marriage Equality USA Media Director said: “The Ninth Circuit’s ruling that Prop. 8 is unconstitutional was an early Valentine to loving couples and fair-minded citizens everywhere.
“While the court’s ruling gives us renewed hope for the restoration of marriage equality in California soon, lesbian and gay people still can’t wed pending any further appeals. This Valentine’s Day, couples are again asking for marriage licenses — hoping that soon the endless appeals will stop, so the wedding plans can start.”
In the UK, Pride London delivered a Valentine’s Day card to Buckingham Palace this weekend asking the Queen to “kiss homophobia goodbye” in the Commonwealth countries which still criminalise gay acts.
Pride London said: “This Valentine’s Day people across the UK will enjoy the right to show their love for their partner whatever their sexual orientation – LGBT and beyond.
“But there are 41 countries which are members of the Commonwealth, headed by Queen, where homosexuality is illegal and punishable by jail sentences ranging up to life imprisonment. In the case of the northern regions of Nigeria and parts of Pakistan, homosexuality is punishable by death.”