“All you need is love.”
John Lennon created a hit Beatles song with this title, but it is also a fitting mantra for the mock marriages performed at the College on the evening of Tuesday, March 13.
Though no one actually tied the knot, a symbolic ceremony took place when Prism, the campus organization for LGBTQ students and their straight allies, presented its ninth annual Queer Wedding to a roomful of students in the ABE Drawing Room.
A traditional nuptial ceremony was transformed into four marriages, with a single purpose.
“Here’s the key,” said Taylor Enoch, executive vice president of Prism, and junior cognitive science major, who welcomed the crowd. “It’s all rooted in love.”
Another goal of the event was to bring attention to marriage equality, he said.
“I feel like it’s very important, especially now. To keep the awareness and to just promote the equality of love,” Enoch said in a post-ceremony interview.
Four pairs represented different types of couples at the event: male-female, male-male, female-female and transgendered.
The ceremony was performed by Lisa Caton, the reverend of the College’s Episcopal Church. This was her fourth year participating in the annual event.
Caton said, “The union of two people is for their mutual joy.”
The eight students participating in the wedding stood before her as she asked each pair if they promised to love, comfort, honor and keep one another in sickness and in health.
As each said, “I do,” the process proceeded. The crowd was asked if they accepted the marriages, and in unison said, “We will.”
The event was originally scheduled to take place in the Spiritual Center. During the ceremony, Caton referenced the change and attributed it to a “scheduling snafu,” but said she was very sorry that happened, saying it was time for LGTBQ couples to move into synagogues and churches to perform such ceremonies.
“Everyone has that same right to be married,” she said. Caton then quoted bible verses, and explained the discrepancy between what people take as evidence to oppose gay marriage, and what the text actually means.
She referred to love as a sacrament, and the importance of supporting one another on life’s journey, because no one can do it alone, she said.
The couples later recited vows and exchanged rings, to symbolically give themselves to one another.
Caton then pronounced the pairs married, for the purpose of this occasion, and they kissed.
A reception with cupcakes, cheese, crackers and cider followed.
Each of the participants had a different motivation for “getting married.”
Remi Lourenco, junior women’s and gender studies major, helped out in last year’s event soon after transferring to the College and deemed it beautiful and touching, so she decided to participate this year.
“Whether or not you believe in marriage, whether you’re straight or gay — some people don’t just believe in the institution of marriage — I think it’s important and this is really symbolic,” she said.
“One of the main reasons I decided to do this was marriage, and the idea of marriage, is something that scares me,” said Megan Osika, freshman English, secondary education and women’s and gender studies major. “In participating in this event, I was hoping it would help me to overcome that fear a bit, and I think it has.”
Alison Ball, sophomore communication studies major, serves as Prism’s campus advocacy chair and planned the event — in fact, it’s the first campus event she’s planned.
“I’m so glad to see so many people here and giving their support. It’s more than just a symbolic ceremony, it’s about marriage equality as a whole,” said Ball, who acknowledged some bumps in the planning process, namely the location change. She attributed this to a computer error with the R-25 form used to book events.
“Even with the issues that we were having with the location of the event,” Osika said, “All these people still came, and that’s incredible. It says something. The fact that all these people were looking for the signs that said ‘Come here,’ instead of there.”
Prism’s weekly meetings are Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. in the Prism Center, downstairs in the Brower Student Center basement.