When Dan Pinello and Lee Nissensohn went into the Oyster Bay, Long Island clerk’s office on Monday to apply for a marriage license, the gay couple knew they had no chance of receiving one, since New York State law does not recognize same-sex marriage. They wound up receiving a citation for trespassing instead.
The mens’ original intention was to practice civil disobedience and stage a sit-in until they were removed by police. “We are law-abiding citizens,” said Pinello, who is a professor of government. “We pay our taxes. We have no other choice left.” However, they eventually agreed with town officials to leave once they were ticketed.
The two men, who are both in their 50’s, have been living together for 13 years and say they just want the same rights and benefits as their neighbors. They began a letter-writing campaign two years ago and have hundreds of supporters in the area, dozens of whom dozens protested outside the office until Pinello and Nissensohn emerged.
“We’re not trying to make statements here,” the town clerk later explained. “We’re trying to do our jobs.”
This video is from The Associated Press, broadcast April 29, 2008.