For the past five years, gay and lesbian couples have been affirming their love with a mass wedding ceremony as part of the events leading to the annual Motor City Pride Celebration in downtown Ferndale. This year, the ceremony, which joins couples in “holy union” rather than legal “marriage,” will take place on Saturday, June 6 on the steps of Ferndale City Hall.
MCC has teamed up with Triangle Foundation to provide gay and lesbian couples the opportunity to publicly pledge their love while also standing up for equal rights. The theme of the ceremony is “To Love, Honor and Be Recognized.”
Over a dozen couples are already expected to exchange vows. There will be a meeting for couples at MCC church that evening to discuss the event and the legal issues that go along with it, including the fact that same-gender marriage is not recognized in the state of Michigan. “It is a political statement that we will continue to fight for our right to marry,” says Bidwell. “Now with five states allowing same gender marriages we see that we are winning this battle state by state. Sooner or later the government will have to grant us our rights.”
Each couple will receive an anniversary cake topper, their choice of a boutonniere or bouquet, professional photos taken at the event, two programs and a marriage certificate. Couples are encouraged to bring friends and family to join in the celebration, and the community is welcome to come watch the ceremony take place and support the couples.
Brides, grooms and those that define themselves as “others” are free to dress however they feel appropriate.
For Ferndale Mayor Craig Covey, who will be one of the officiators, the ceremony is an important tradition. “Ferndale as a city has been officiating same sex unions for the past nine years, beginning in 2000 with former Ferndale Mayor Chuck Goedert performing one of the first unions for two men outside our library,” Covey recalled. “Mayor Porter officiated at the annual same sex commitment ceremonies outside city hall during all six years of his tenure. I have continued that tradition and am now the third Ferndale mayor to do so.”
“We believe in celebrating and truly encouraging diversity in this town and that has included the GLBT community in all its manifestations,” he continued. “We have bears in bikinis washing cars on Woodward during Pride week, and transgender folks playing pool at Rosie’s. It is a no-brainer that the city supports gay unions. I will marry gay couples any time I am able and will continue to do so as long as I am mayor. Believe it or not, I usually tear up at these mass ceremonies, although I’m not sure if it is my pleasure at the couples’ love, or my bittersweet knowledge that I’m ‘always the bridesmaid and never the bride.’
“More than anything though, I hope that someday this becomes routine and that other mayors and cities in Michigan start doing the right thing as well.”
For more information. visit http://www.mccdetroit.org.