Josh Snyder-Hill and his husband, Stephen will serve as Grand Marshals for this year’s Pride Parade to honor their ongoing activism for LGBT rights. After Stephen, an Iraq veteran, was booed for submitting a question about rights for gays in the military at a 2011 debate during the Republican primary, the two became even more dedicated to the cause.
The best way Josh could think to combat intolerance and inequality was with love. And the C-Bus of Love was born. The C-Bus of Love is a trip to Washington, D.C., on Friday on which 25 LGBT couples from Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia will get married in front of the Supreme Court. The couples will then return to Columbus that night and celebrate their nuptials at this weekend’s Pride Festival
This year I said, “I’m going to do it.” I’m going to put people together. I’m going to make a statement and help people get married. I like that Columbus owns C-Bus of Love, even if we can’t get married here. The city is so supportive.
It’s kind of ironic that DOMA will be decided during Pride Month. I thought it would be cool if I figured out a way to get people married during Pride Month — when DOMA is going to get defeated in Washington, D.C. Wow, wouldn’t it be cool if we could do it in front of the Supreme Court?
We launched [C-Bus of Love registration] on Valentine’s Day. If we didn’t get all the names we needed by April 14, then we’d had to shut it down, refunded all the money and told everybody we’re really sorry we couldn’t pull this off. I laugh every time I think about that now.
We put it on the web and pretty quickly we got seven or eight applicants. Then it went viral a week and a half later. There were 45 applications … then in about 35 minutes in we hit about 125.
It went from this idea of helping 25 couples to having to turn people away. Out of all of this, that was the saddest moment. We thought about doing five buses. We couldn’t have done five buses. We made the decision to run something successful and then come at it full throttle next year. With as successful as it’s been and as much support we’ve had … I think we could swing five buses [next year]. I know we can get the people. Imagine the statement that would make; busloads of people leaving from this city from all over the Midwest.
A lot of couples have people coming along as well. I’m interested to see how many people are following or meeting up with the bus. The bus leaves at 5:30 a.m. Friday morning and arrives back in Columbus at midnight or 1 a.m. Friday night. It’s a whirlwind trip and then they come back and celebrate in Columbus.
There is 189 years of commitment amongst all the couples on the bus. When everyone comes home and they’re all married, we will have traveled a total of 25,000 miles.
In some ways this is sad that they’re traveling so far to marry the person they love. It’s really cool and they’re very excited, but of them have families who can’t do it. While it’s amazing, a normal celebration with your family is neglected.