Toledo Pride: Toledo Pride to host committment ceremonyWritten by Brigitta Burks | News Editor | BBurks@toledofreepress.com
Ten local, same-sex couples will get a ceremony of their own at the 2012 Toledo Pride festival on Aug. 11.
The ceremony and following reception is part of a Pride partnership with the Support Marriage Equality in Ohio group. The couples were selected based on Facebook submissions.
The couples’ “walk down the aisle” will be during the parade, which starts at noon. Afterward, a ceremony will take place at Levis Square followed by a reception for the couples and their 80 guests. The Divintist Order in Genoa will keep records of the unions. If same-sex marriage becomes legal in Ohio, the order will submit the paperwork for legal retroactive status to Aug. 11, 2012. If retroactive status isn’t granted, the order will sign marriage licenses without an additional ceremony, but the marriage date would be different.
Heather Zeller, owner of La Boutique Nostalgie, is a wedding planner and minister who offered her services to the event. Not only has she donated her planning services, champagne, flowers and more, but she is also designing and performing the ceremony.
The ceremony’s theme is a vintage nautical look not only because of the proximity to the river, but also to reference a quote by Rabindranath Tagore, an Indian poet.
“Basically, the quote is, ‘You can’t cross the sea by merely standing and staring at the water,’” Zeller said, adding that the quote means for marriage equality to happen, people need to be active.
Events like these are important to the community, said Rebecca Facey, a Toledoan who recently married social worker Angie Carriker.
“We love direct action politics,” she said. “That is the stuff that shows people just how stupid [denying marriage equality] is. And really it’s [showing that it has] a very human side and that it’s not gay people, it’s your neighbors, it’s your friends, it’s your family members that you’re denying these rights to.”
Zeller also helped out at the Marriage Equality Ceremony and Rally in Dayton, where 10 other couples had a ceremony. There she met Jennifer Tyrrell, a Cub Scout leader who was let go because of her sexual orientation. Tyrrell delivered the wedding toast in Dayton and she will be the grand marshal of the Toledo Pride parade on Aug. 11.
“Whether she realizes or not, she’s going to be an icon in the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) community,” Zeller said.
Marriage equality is an important issue for Zeller. She is part of the Divinitist Order, which she and her friends started themselves. Her order emphasizes honoring the divine in each person.
“The only way we’re going to start getting to the point where we can live in peace is respecting that everyone is on their own path,” she said.
Zeller said that as a wedding planner, finding vendors for the Pride ceremony has been somewhat challenging.
“There are a lot of people who won’t touch it,” she said. “It’s definitely made me rethink who my preferred vendors will be.”
Still, some area vendors like Photos by Yvonne, The Paper Peacock, KMJ Design and Emily West-Lowry Designs have donated their services and time.
“[The participating vendors] are all top-of-the-line, wonderful people who are all up there in the wedding industry of Toledo,” Zeller said.
Still, Zeller said she’d throw an even bigger ceremony/reception if there were more funds available to Support Marriage Equality in Ohio, a group she thoroughly believes in.
“I am a straight mother of two and married, but I’m a huge, huge proponent of marriage equality,” she said. “This is the civil rights movement of our times.”