Students volunteered to be symbolically wed in support of equal marriage rights on the UC Rocks Thursday as a part of the third annual Marriage on the Rock, sponsored by OUTspoken.
Mewelau Hall, junior, helped set it up.
“Every year is good, but every year we try to make it better,” Hall said, a member of both OUTspoken and SpectrUM.
She said one of the purposes of this event was to demonstrate how students have different mindsets and that just because they may be different they are not necessarily wrong
“We don’t try to impose our views on anyone else because that would be hypocritical,” she said.
Members of SpectrUM adorned the Rock with posters, balloons and a marriage arch, attracting the attention of students passing by during the day.
The only requirement to marry was that “you have to be a person.”
Chris Fisher, a columnist for The Hurricane who was in charge of the event, officiated the symbolic marriages. Each ceremony consisted of a couple walking up a red carpet and standing under the arch. There, they exchanged protest vows supplied by SpectrUM and ring-pops while a three-piece string played various wedding songs.
After each couple was symbolically married, the “newlyweds” signed certificates affirming their commitment to marriage equality in addition to an official petition.
Mariana Rego, junior, and Rudy Tamarchio, sophomore, were the first students symbolically wed.
“It’s a fun way to protest the writing into the constitution of something that shouldn’t be there,” Rego said. “I believe that the Constitution is about giving rights and not taking them away.”
Shortly after noon, Student Government (SG) President-elect Annette Ponnock symbolically married Rita Julien, freshman, in support of marriage equality.
“I participated today because it’s a cause I really care about,” Ponnock said. “I’m a big supporter of SpectrUM and OUTspoken.
“It’s a very important issue that they are raising awareness of. More people should come out to things like this and open people’s minds.”
Julien also weighed in on the issue.
“A ban on gay marriage is just the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard of,” Julien said. “I don’t understand it. I don’t understand any of the thought behind it.”
John Constantinide, outgoing speaker pro-tempore of the Senate, said that he intended to renew his vows with outgoing SG Vice President Paula Georg, but ended up marrying Adam Guercio, junior, instead.
“I got married because I believe in the cause of OUTspoken and SpectrUM in having equality in uniting two people, whether or not they are of the same sex,” Constantinide said.
Guercio, who is Ponnock’s real-life boyfriend, also supported the purpose of Thursday’s event.
“The cause is fantastic,” he said. “I support gay marriage and gay civil unions and I think this is great because it symbolized what we’re trying to accomplish.”
Two symbolic Jewish ceremonies were also held on the Rock, featuring the traditional breaking of a glass and congratulatory shouts of mazel tov.
The Marriage on the Rock event was held as part of Spring Education Week, a five-day celebration of sexual diversity and gender identity hosted by SpectrUM.
Other activities held during included a program called “Gays in the workforce” and a screening of the film “Dorian Blues.”
Greg Linch can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.