By Cherri Gregg
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Equality Forum will host its first Equality Ball this Valentine’s Day.
Money from the fundraiser will support a federal lawsuit that seeks to strike down Pennsylvania’s ban on same-sex marriage on the grounds that it voids the unions of legally married gay couples.
“Marriage equality is something that’s front and center both in Pennsylvania and around the nation,” says Malcolm Lazin, the executive director of the Equality Forum.
He says the nonprofit hopes to use the Equality Ball to rally the LGBT community and its allies around the lawsuit.
“Today, you can be legally married in 17 states, but if you come to Pennsylvania and 29 other states, your same-sex marriage is legally void,” says Lazin. “That just flies in the face of the tradition of this country of accepting marriages from other states and other countries.”
Lazin says the ball will raise funds to support the suit brought on behalf of Cara Palladino and Isabelle Barker, who are lesbians who were legally married in Massachusetts in 2005.
The couple now lives in Pennsylvania, where their marriage is void.
“Love is love,” says Lazin. “All Americans are entitled to be treated with dignity and respect.”
The ball takes place at Independence Visitor’s Center on Friday, February 14 at 7 p.m. and will feature an open bar and restaurant stations.
Tickets are $100.