Nineteen couples tied the knot during a mass wedding at Baltimore’s Pride Festival on June 16. Proclaiming “WeDo Baltimore Day,” Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake acknowledged the victory in achieving marriage equality in Maryland and then presided over the brief service in front of hundreds of the couples’ family members, friends and spectators at the main stage in Druid Hill Park.
Also on hand with the mayor and making remarks were four local clergy: Rev. Meredith Moise, Father E. Skip Koritzer, Elder Harris Thomas and Minister Clifton G. Speller.
Brittany and Alice Chong from southwest Baltimore were elated about the impending ceremony an hour before. “We’re so glad it’s legal now,” said Brittany who has been with Alice for five years. “We’re sealing the deal.”
A reception for the newly married couples and families followed the ceremony that was highlighted by a display of rainbow-colored cupcakes.
The previous day brought huge crowds to the annual parade that included 66 units representing a wide array of organizations, gay-friendly businesses and politicians. Rawlings-Blake was the parade’s grand marshal. Also in the parade were potential gubernatorial candidates Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler and Del. Heather Mizeur.
The conclusion of the parade merged with the beginning of the block party whereby thousands crammed the intersection of Charles and Eager streets in Mount Vernon. Controversy formed the backdrop to the block party as business owners and residents complained a week before about underage drinking and other related issues. A compromise was worked out so that the party’s boundaries were shortened. No major problems were reported.
“The GLCCB is very proud of Baltimore Pride 2013,” Matt Thorn, the Center’s executive director, told the Blade. “From Pride with the Orioles, Twilight on the Terrace to the Parade, Block Party and Festival there were many functions for our community to participate in.”