US: Baltimore Pride features mass same-sex wedding

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

During this year’s Baltimore Pride parade, the city’s Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake officiated a mass wedding of over 20 couples, in an emotional and symbolic move.

The mass-wedding ceremony took place on the main stage of the Baltimore Pride parade, in Druid Hill Park, Baltimore, despite criticism from some.

In traditional fashion, the Mayor said: “To have and to hold, from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part.

“I now pronounce you married,” she continued said. The ceremony was met with loud applause.

Many of the couples said they had been together for decades, but felt that it was only right that they could marry in the state where they met.

The wedding’s organiser, Carrietta Hiers, said of the Mayor: “The support is critical. It’s always, ‘What can I do to help? What do you need? This is the person that you should contact.’ She believes in equality for everyone.”

Nine US states, and Washington DC currently allow equal marriage, and it will become law in Rhode Island, Delaware and Minnesota in the summer.

The US state of Maryland in November 2012 became the first state to legalise equal marriage by means of a popular vote. The law came into effect on 1 January 2013.

Washington and Maine also legalised equal marriage in referendums in those states on the same day. On 6 November, voters in Minnesota voted ‘no’ on Amendment 1, a constitutional amendment that would have defined marriage as being a union solely between a man and a woman.

The US Supreme Court is expected to rule on two cases surround equal marriage, in the next two weeks, potentially making a groundbreaking ruling for equal marriage in the state of California, and the whole of the US.