ITHACA, N.Y. — Mayor Svante Myrick brought salad and a loaf of bread to six people staging a sit-in at Congressman Tom Reed’s Ithaca office and ended up legally marrying a couple on Valentine’s Day.

Ithacans Marie De Mott Grady, 31, and Bill Wilson, 28, were among a group of people to stop by the office late Thursday evening in solidarity with six Catholic protesters who have staged a sit-in and Reed’s office until the Congressman agrees to an in-person or video chat with the group.

Longtime activist Daniel Joseph Burns — who has known the bride for more than 20 years — said the couple was married in front of their friends and family at the First Unitarian Society of Ithaca a few weeks ago, but their marriage wasn’t legal, yet. The impromptu ceremony from Myrick sealed the deal.

“The building is closed and it’s Valentine’s Day and we came here with love and joy in our hearts,” Burns said.

The protesters spent the night in sleeping bags and don’t plan to leave until they get their time with Reed. A representative with the Congressman met with several of the protesters last week. But Burns said too much has happened with President Donald Trump’s administration since then, and Reed should be accountable to his constituency.

“They just keep saying sometime in March we could have a town hall meeting,” Burns said. “And then they come out (this week) and then (it’s) sometime in May.”

If given the chance, Burns said he wants to ask the Congressman about his support for the now-defunct travel ban, his support for the Dakota Access Pipeline, and former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s resignation, among other issues.

Reed came out early in support of Trump and was the second Republican congressman in the state to endorse the candidate last March.

“Representative Tom Reed is a gear in this machine and…he’s participating in the most absurd situation our country’s been in, since I’ve been alive anyway,” Burns said. “It’s emergency time now. It’s not, ‘Wait until March.’”

Correction: There are six protesters at Reed’s office, not five, as originally reported. 

Jolene Almendarez

Jolene Almendarez is Managing Editor at The Ithaca Voice. She can be reached at; you can learn more about her at the links in the top right of this box.