(UPDATED W/VIDEO) Maine’s First Mass Same Sex Marriage Ceremony Conducted At Southern Maine Pride Festival
UPDATE: Here is a rather shaky video of the ceremony.
The theme of this year’s event, “Marry Me”, was in honor of the 2012 marriage equality law that went into effect last December and the first same sex couple married in Maine, Portland’s own Michael Snell and Steven Bridges, were honorary marshals of the parade proceeding the wedding ceremony. The grand marshal for this year’s parade was Bethel resident Richard Blanco, who was the inaugural poet at President Barack Obama’s ceremonial swearing-in last January.
Rob Hopkins of Pennsylvania, who had been in a relationship with his fiance for 18 years, said the couple decided to travel specifically to Maine to exchange vows: “We came to get married because Maine recognizes gay marriage. Maine is a beautiful state.”
More from the happy couples via Portland Press Herald:
Chris Fleuriel and Chris Andre of Brunswick said the mass wedding was a perfect way to celebrate Maine’s gay marriage law. They said the public ceremony spared them a lot of complicated wedding preparations.
“We know a lot of our friends will be here so this keeps it real simple. We just emailed our friends,” Fleuriel said.Ivy Gibbs and Courtney Vandermartin of Portland, who got engaged in November, said that when they heard about the mass wedding, they knew they had to take part.
“It is nice to know everyone is supporting us,” said Vandermartin, who planned to take her new spouse’s last name.
Ryan Pearson, who had been engaged for four years to Michael Nadeau, said the two decided the day before to get married as part of the mass wedding: “It was very last minute.”
After the ceremony, Mayor Brennan read a proclamation, recognizing June 15, 2013 as Southern Maine Pride Day.