On Valentine’s Day, protesting for love and inclusion in Warren

Protesters included (from left) Joyce Katzberg, Paul Smith, Gideon Wallace, Jasper White, Karen Valcourt and Helen Hunt. Protesters included (from left) Joyce Katzberg, Paul Smith, Gideon Wallace, Jasper White, Karen Valcourt and Helen Hunt.

Protesters included (from left) Joyce Katzberg, Paul Smith, Gideon Wallace, Jasper White, Jaren Valcourt and Helen Hunt.

Protesters included (from left) Joyce Katzberg, Paul Smith, Gideon Wallace, Jasper White, Karen Valcourt and Helen Hunt.

A handful of East Bay residents who support marriage equality legislation spent a little more than an hour in front of Warren Town Hall Thursday afternoon, using the Valentine’s Day holiday to spread their message of inclusion and equal rights.

They carried placards that read “Support Marriage Equality: Contact Your Senator,” “Honk if you support marriage equality,” and others. The Senator they were referring to is Walter S. Felag, who represents Warren and parts of Bristol and Tiverton. The Democrat recently co-sponsored legislation that would define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, and would put the issue out to public referendum in 2014. Those protesting for equality Thursday said they haven’t heard from Sen. Felag, though they have reached out to him with letters, Facebook posts and by other means, hoping to compel him to change his stance on the subject.

One of the organizers was Joyce Katzberg. She said she and her fellow protesters informed the town in advance about their plans to picket, and said the response from passers-by was great.

“A lot of people have been” honking their horns, she said.

Apart from the obvious reference to love tied to Valentine’s Day, the day is significant from a social standpoint, she said. Valentinus, for whom the holiday was named, was an early Christian martyr who was imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry and for ministering to Christians, who were persecuted under the Roman Empire.

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