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Six Phoenicians Will Walk 97 Miles in Summer Heat to Advocate Gay Marriage in AZ

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Anybody willing to walk 97 miles through metro Phoenix in August has either a loose screw or a damn good reason.

The walkers are members of Right to Marry: Arizona, an organization that seeks equal marriage rights for gays and lesbians. The plan is to walk about 15 miles a day for seven days, with stops along the way where they'll try to engage religious and political figures in conversations about the issue. Stops include the starting point at Scottsdale Bible Church, the Parish of the Diocese of Phoenix Saint Mary's, Glendale City Hall, and finally, Phoenix City Hall.

Each night, walkers will stay in a hotel near each stop before continuing the trek the next day. The 97-mile walk represents the 97 years Arizona has been without a right-to-marry law.

Right to Marry did a similar walk last year, starting in Surprise and winding 96 miles through the West Valley. Walker Meg Sneed says their reception on last year's walk was dubious. "We had some people that were really receptive. A lot of the churches were receptive to us," she says. "And then, of course, some people don't want to have the conversation."

Like last year, the Right to Marry walkers will carry rainbow umbrellas to shield themselves from the sun. They'll also bring plenty of water. Sneed says some walkers have even been training for the event, which starts on Sunday, August 9th at Scottsdale Bible Church.

"Walking 97 miles in August may seem crazy, and yes, maybe it is a little crazy, but it is also crazy for the state of Arizona to deny people the right to marry the person they love for the last 96 years," says Right to Marry walker Meg Sneed. "The time is now for us to get bold, and get creative, and have the conversations with all people in Arizona."

For more information on the "Equality Walkers," visit www.soulforce.org/righttomarry.

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