By: Grace Wu
On February 14th 2012, MSJ’s Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) held their annual mock wedding during lunch in the A-wing cafeteria. The event gave students the opportunity to exchange vows with each other regardless of gender. Students were also encouraged to watch and enjoy the ceremonies. MSJ’s GSA is a club “which provides a safe place for students to meet, support each other, talk about issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity and expression, and work to end homophobia and transphobia.”
The wedding served as a celebration of rights and equality, in light of recent legislation passed by states to legalize same-sex marriage. In February 2012, Governer Chris Gregoire of Washington state signed into a law a bill legalizing same-sex marriage in the state of Washington. Washington state has become the seventh state to pass such legislation; prior to this, New York, Connecticut, Iowa, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Washington, D.C. all legalized same-sex marriage. MSJ’s mock wedding provided an opportunity GSA to promote marriage equality while having student interaction.
The A-wing cafeteria was decorated with balloons and rainbow ribbons for the mock wedding. The wedding aisle was created with ribbons, rose petals, and surrounded by colorful balloons. Students wore feather boas, tiaras, and rainbow ribbons to exchange vows. As couples walked down the aisle, the crowd threw rose petals and blew bubbles for them. Junior Hanna Naum-Stoian presided over the weddings, officiating marriages by reading poems. After the ceremony, students were given colorful rings, marriage certificates, and cupcakes to celebrate their marriage. Junior Zarrie-Samiezad Yazd, GSA’s president, said, “This year’s wedding was awesome! I’m really happy that we were able to give people the chance to celebrate Valentine’s Day in a unique way while spreading awareness of the issue of marriage equality at the same time. We had about 20 marriages in total. Going by what I observed, we had a pretty even balance of same-sex and opposite-sex marriages. One of my favorite parts of the event was that my good friend Junior Jocelyn Ha made these gorgeous Valentine-themed cupcakes that everyone loved. They made the event really feel like a true wedding!”
Married couples were happy with the mock wedding. Sophomore Betty Bloch said, “It was fun because I got to go up with all my friends and pretend to get married. I even wore a tiara!” Spectators also enjoyed the event. Junior Jocelyn Ha said, “”I think that the GSA mock wedding went extremely well! It was great to see how enthusiastic people were to get married to their fellow friends. You could definitely feel the love in the air. The crazy rainbow decorations, balloons, rings, costumes, and wedding cupcakes made it all the more enjoyable!”