To show support for same-sex marriage about 10 couples scattered around River Park Square on Sunday for a flash mob kiss-in.
Carol Ehrhart, president of the Inland Northwest LGBT Center, and her partner Alissa, stood at the bottom of the mall escalators and smooched, signaling the other couples to join in the calculated public displays of affection.
“This was to show that couples do come in all shapes, sizes and sexual orientations,” Earhardt said.
In part, the kiss-in was in response to the recent city council meeting where gobs of residents spoke out against homosexuality. It was also done to make people aware of how diverse Spokane really is, Earhardt said.
“It’s to show that we’re your friends, neighbors, brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers,” said Mike Jepson, a volunteer at OutSpokane. “It’s not a gay issue, it’s a human issue.”
He said Spokane’s gay community want the same rights as all other residents.
About half of the couples at the kiss-in were heterosexual, including Justin Ellenbecker and his wife. He said in a previous interview that some human rights, like marriage, just exist and shouldn’t be voted on.
Vikki Valimir, also a kiss-in participant, said she finds the gay marriage debate incongruous.
“I just think in this age, when everyone’s about privacy, it’s ironic somebody decides who you go to bed with is actually an issue,” she said.
The LGBT center and other local organizations supporting gay rights have other marriage equality events planned for the summer, including Hands Across Monroe and a mock marriage ceremony.
Tracy Simmons is an award winning journalist specializing in religion reporting, digital entrepreneurship and social journalism. In her 15 years on the religion beat, Simmons has tucked a notepad in her pocket and found some of her favorite stories aboard cargo ships in New Jersey, on a police chase in Albuquerque, in dusty Texas church bell towers, on the streets of New York and in tent cities in Haiti.
Simmons has worked as a multimedia journalist for newspapers across New Mexico, Texas and Connecticut. Currently she serves as the executive director of SpokaneFAVS.com, a digital journalism start-up covering religion news and commentary in Spokane, Wash. She is also a Scholarly Assistant Professor at Washington State University.