Tag Archives: gay wedding

Gay wedding float wins Rose Parade prize

AIDS Healthcare Foundation won the Isabella Coleman award in the Rose Parade on Jan. 1 for its entry, a float that featured a giant wedding cake and a gay couple marrying.

The float, the target of a right-wing protest in the days leading up to the annual New Year’s  event, won for the “best presentation of color and color harmony through floral use.”

The float was designed by Fiesta Parade Floats and the them was “Love Is the Best Protection.”

The marrying couple, Aubrey Loots and Danny Leclair, met across a crowded dance floor 12 years ago. They exchanged vows perched on the wedding-cake-shaped platform in front of the viewing stand and with a television audience of millions.

After some right-wing groups launched a petition and boycott against the float, the Pasadena Tournament of Roses issued a statement defending the wedding. The statement said truly represented the parade’s theme of “Dreams Come True.”

On the Web …


Wedding bells ring for gay couples in Maryland

Same-sex couples in Maryland were greeted with cheers and noisemakers held over from New Year’s Eve parties, as gay marriage became legal in the first state south of the Mason-Dixon Line on New Year’s Day.

James Scales, 68, was married to William Tasker, 60, on Jan. 1 shortly after midnight by Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake inside City Hall.

“It’s just so hard to believe it’s happening,” Scales said shortly before marrying his partner of 35 years.

Six other same-sex couples also were being married at City Hall. Ceremonies were taking place in other parts of the state as well.

The ceremonies follow a legislative fight that pitted Gov. Martin O’Malley against leaders of his Catholic faith. Voters in the state, founded by Catholics in the 17th century, sealed the change by approving a November ballot question.

“There is no human institution more sacred than that of the one that you are about to form,” Rawlings-Blake said during the brief ceremony. “True marriage, true marriage, is the dearest of all earthly relationships.”

Brigitte Ronnett, who also was married, said she hopes one day to see full federal recognition of same-sex marriage. Maryland, Maine and Washington state were the first states to approve same-sex marriage by popular vote, in November, a development Ronnett said was significant.

“I think it’s a great sign when you see that popular opinion is now in favor of this,” said Ronnett, 51, who married Lisa Walther, 51, at City Hall.

Same-sex couples in Maryland have been able to get marriage licenses since Dec. 6, but they did not take effect until Tuesday.

In 2011, same-sex marriage legislation passed in the state Senate but stalled in the House of Delegates. O’Malley hadn’t made the issue a key part of his 2011 legislative agenda, but indicated that summer that he was considering backing a measure similar to New York’s law, which includes exemptions for religious organizations.

Shortly after, Archbishop Edwin O’Brien of Baltimore wrote to O’Malley that same-sex marriage went against the governor’s faith.

“As advocates for the truths we are compelled to uphold, we speak with equal intensity and urgency in opposition to your promoting a goal that so deeply conflicts with your faith, not to mention the best interests of our society,” wrote O’Brien, who served as archbishop of the nation’s first diocese from October 2007 to August 2011.

The governor was not persuaded. He held a news conference in July 2011 to announce that he would make same-sex marriage a priority in the 2012 legislative session. He wrote back to the archbishop that “when shortcomings in our laws bring about a result that is unjust, I have a public obligation to try to change that injustice.”

The measure, with exemptions for religious organizations that choose not to marry gay couples, passed the House of Delegates in February in a close vote. O’Malley signed it in March. Opponents then gathered enough signatures to put the bill to a statewide vote, and it passed with 52 percent in favor.

In total, nine states and the District of Columbia have approved same-sex marriage. The other states are Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont.

Popularity of Caribbean island soars after gay wedding

A speck of an island in the Dutch Caribbean has become increasingly popular with gay couples after legislators legalized same-sex marriages in a region still openly hostile to gays and lesbians.

Two men were recently married in Saba, marking the first ceremony of its kind in the region and setting off a frenzy of calls from gay couples in other Dutch Caribbean islands seeking to marry, said Julietta Woods with Saba’s Civil Registry office.”People keep calling me every second,” she said by telephone this week.

As part of the Netherlands Kingdom, the islands of Saba, Bonaire and St. Eustatius have to recognize same-sex marriages. While Bonaire and St. Eustatius have balked at the idea of legalizing such unions, the idea has been embraced in Saba, long considered a gay-friendly destination.

“We’ve seen it as a human rights issue,” said Saba council member Carl Buncamper, who is openly gay. “It is important to give the partners equal rights when it comes to inheritance and other benefits.”

Dozens of gay couples cheered Saba’s unprecedented step, noting that gays often face taunts, threats and even death elsewhere in the Caribbean, with many islands enforcing so-called buggery laws implemented in colonial times. Some islands also have tried to amend their constitution to establish that marriage should only be between a man and a woman.

While Saba currently stands alone in approving same-sex marriages, Bonaire and St. Eustatius are expected to follow.

The Netherlands, which in 2001 became the first country in the world to approve same-sex marriages, is giving those islands more time to adopt the same law amid local opposition. The Netherlands has said local governments should use the time to help communities get used to the idea of gay marriage.

The other Dutch Caribbean islands of St. Maarten, Curacao and Aruba have to recognize same-sex marriages but don’t have to legalize them because they have a more autonomous relationship with the Netherlands.

Meanwhile, the nearby French Caribbean islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe are expected to soon debate the issue as France prepares to vote early next year on whether to legalize same-sex marriages.

In Saba, it took legislators several years to adopt the law and ensure that procedures were in place. On Dec. 4, officials married Xiomar Alexander Gonzalez and Israel Ernesto Ruiz in a civil ceremony at the island’s courthouse.

The two men live together in Aruba and wanted to make their union official, dressing in all white to celebrate the occasion. Gonzalez said people in Saba were very welcoming.

Aruba does not allow same-sex marriages, but that could eventually change, said Desiree Croes, Aruba’s first openly gay Parliament member. Croes had planned to marry to her partner in Saba, but they ended up marrying Dec. 12 in the Netherlands to celebrate with more family and friends.

Although Aruba is supposed to recognize same-sex marriages, it has struggled to do so. In 2005, the island’s Superior Court ordered the government to register the union of two women who complained their 2001 marriage in the Netherlands wasn’t recognized locally.

Croes said she believes her marriage will pave the way for others.

“It will take time to change the minds completely,” she said. “We still get stares, but the good thing is that people don’t criticize us openly.”

Kappa Alpha Psi’s gay wedding video goes viral

A video of a Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity brother marrying his partner is approaching a million views at various sources.

The video, “Robert + Nathanael 9.8.12,” has more than 1,400 “likes” and just 65 “dislikes.”

Published by Robert Brown, the intro to the video says, “Our wedding at The Mansion at Griffin Gate Marriott Resort in Lexington, Kentucky. Photography by Todd Pellowe toddpellowe.com. Follow us on Twitter @younglegend3 @nateg10451. Visit our wedding website www.naterob.com”

Find the video of the crimson-and-cream wedding of Brown and husband Nathanael on YouTube.

Extra steps down the wedding aisle

Jenny and I are getting married.

The problem is where.

Oh, not where we’re having the wedding. That’s easy. Our wedding will be held in the church we attend, a 100-year-old Lutheran Church on the Upper West Side of New York, with well-worn wooden pews and slightly peeling paint.

Our church welcomes all and marries all (as does the Lutheran denomination now), which is probably why it’s so vibrant, with children scratching out drawings during the sermons and straight and gay couples of all races mingling during the social hour.

Our minister, when we asked her to officiate at our wedding, was thrilled. “Oh!” she said, clapping her hands. “I’ve been wanting to marry a gay couple! This is great news!”

So our wedding will be in a church.

But our marriage is a different story.

New York state recognizes gay marriages performed in other states and countries where they are legal – so once we are married somewhere, anywhere, we will be considered married at home.

We had been hoping that New York would go all the way and legalize marriages performed here, as well. And that looked likely for a while. There was strong support in the state legislature and the governor put his support behind the bill.

And then came last June, when the legislature careened into a circus, the governor lost all credibility and – well, suffice it to say that it’s doubtful our minister would be able to say “By the power of the state of New York I now pronounce you spouses for life” even if we waited until next year. Or 2012. Or 2013.

So we can’t get married officially in New York.

We could get married in Washington, D.C., where Jenny’s father is a judge. That would be perfect, except that he has yet to accept that Jenny is a lesbian.

And for a time we thought about Iceland. Iceland will likely get marriage equality this June, and Jenny has always wanted to go there. It’s a small country. For a few days we thrilled each other by imagining jetting off to Iceland after our wedding to get officially married by their lesbian prime minister.

“Why not?” we thought. “Why shouldn’t she officiate?” It’s a small country. It would be good publicity, at least to the well-traveled gay set.

And then we imagined waving around a marriage certificate in Icelandic should we ever have to prove that we are married, say, in Arkansas, and shuddered.

There are other choices: Spain. New Hampshire. Massachusetts. Iowa. Each has its own draws and drawbacks.

Straight couples do not have this issue. They do not have to figure out the logistics of both a wedding and a marriage. They don’t have to decide both who will see them walk down the aisle and who will see them officially tie the knot. They do not have one outfit for the minister and one for the judge who signs the papers.

But we do.

In the end, we’ll probably do the easy thing: Connecticut. It’s right over the border on the MetroNorth. We don’t know who of our friends and family will be able to make it – we’re already asking them to fly in from all over the country during the week instead of a weekend, so asking them to tack on an extra day seems wrong.

But what is really wrong, of course, is that we should need to perform an extra step at all.

We can’t just walk down the aisle. We also have to drive, ride or fly across state lines.

But we will do it, because at the end of the day, beautiful as it will be, we don’t just want a wedding. We want to be married.