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Friday, May 10, 2013

The C-Bus of Love

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In 2004, after Ohio failed to legalize same-sex marriage, Joshua Snyder-Hill made a decision. He would not just sign petitions or carry signs at protests; he would change the conversation. But it took a moment in 2011 to show him the way.

During a Republican presidential debate in September of 2011, America watched an Army officer serving in Iraq ask a question about DADT via video. That Army officer was Steve Snyder-Hill, Josh's husband. Josh watched as the man he loved, the man to whom he had pledged his life and heart had his service to our country ignored by every single candidate standing on that stage. And he realized exactly the path he had to take.

Josh founded Marriage last year. The original idea behind Marriage Evolved was to bring gay couples into one forum and advise them on the best places to get married, budgets and travel information, calling attention to the financial losses accrued by states who refused to legalize same-sex marriage. At the time, a spark of an idea was beginning to grow in Josh's head, but the details were sketchy.

Then in January, it hit him. Why not organize a trip for couples to Washington, DC? A group of gay couples, who couldn't legally marry in their own state, all traveling to DC to get married? Josh and a friend were brainstorming one night, trying to find the right name for this event and coming up with good, but not great, ideas. Josh ran upstairs and spotted tee shirts with "C-Bus" written on them, the nickname for Columbus, Ohio. He stopped cold, realizing this was it. The C-Bus of Love.

The C-Bus of Love was launched on February 14th, 2013-Valentine's Day. Josh, Steve and the other members of their small organizing committee watched and waited, all the while continuing to market and plan this historic adventure. Josh told me they were afraid not enough couples would sign up and they would never get it off the ground. Information about the C-Bus of Love showed up on numerous social media sites for LGBT rights and marriage equality, and the group suddenly found themselves receiving an application every 10-15 minutes.

On June 21st, 2013, 25 couples will travel from Columbus, Ohio to Washington, DC to say "I do." These couples are from all over the Midwest and West Virginia, they have expressed their unwavering love for one another and from what Josh and Steve shared with me Thursday evening, they are beyond excited. Some of the couples weren't really sure what being "married" meant, in the legal sense, and who better to educate them than Josh and Steve, two heroes of the LGBT community who are fighting DOMA on a national level.

A lot has changed since that September evening. President Obama was reelected and came out in favor of marriage equality, the majority of Americans support same-sex marriage and numerous states are poised to join the eleven who have already said yes to marriage equality. The battle for equality stared long before Steve asked his question and Josh came up the C-Bus of Love, but I believe that with the leadership of men and women like the Snyder-Hills, we are close to winning this fight.

Interviewing Steve and Josh on the same day Minnesota voted yes on marriage equality was more profound than I can ever express. Knowing my state is likely to become the next to legalize love while speaking with two of my heroes about the C-Bus of Love was wonderful and poignant and, well, perfect.

It is an honor to count Steve and Josh Snyder-Hill among my friends, and it will be extremely emotional to watch 25 couples become husband and husband, and wife and wife this coming June. Please visit the link below to learn how you can contribute to the C-Bus of Love, read about each couple and get more information on the two men responsible for making this happen.

The C-Bus of Love

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