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Same-sex couples plan mass wedding at Baltimore Pride

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Maryland, gay marriage, marriage equality, same-sex marriage, gay news, Washington Blade

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake will join several LGBT clergy at WeDo Baltimore Sunday for a mass wedding celebrating gay marriage. (Photo courtesy of Baltimore mayor’s office)

The idea of getting married at a public festival like Baltimore Pride may seem daunting and lacking in intimacy for a lot of couples, but for Carrietta Heirs, it’s an important option to provide the LGBT community after years of struggling for marriage equality in Maryland.

“It’s the way we’re validating what we’ve always known — that we have this right,” Heirs says of WeDo Baltimore, a mass LGBT wedding ceremony new to Baltimore Pride that she has organized. “We’ve finally earned this right, so the public should know.”

WeDo Baltimore will host about a dozen LGBT couples during the Baltimore Pride Festival on Sunday in lakeside Druid Hill Park (2600 Madison Ave., Baltimore) to celebrate the passage of marriage rights for same-sex couples in Maryland. Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake will lead the event and address the crowd. Rev. Meredith Moise, Father E. Skip Koritzer, Elder Harris Thomas and Rev. Dorothy Harris are among the local faith leaders who will officiate.

Heirs says WeDo Baltimore will be an integral part of Baltimore Pride in the coming years and is not just a one-time event.

“I think for the next couple years it very well may be. This is the month to celebrate,” Heirs says. “I think that this is historical. Today it’s gonna be a hell of a big deal, but in five years from now, I’d like it to be ‘Oh, it’s another wedding.’”

In addition to managing the event, Heirs will marry her partner of nearly 13 years, Tonya Cooke.

“We had a commitment ceremony in 2010. We said that when it became legal we would do it. We didn’t realize it would happen so soon. It really means a lot,” Heirs says. “I’m also so excited for the other couples who are finally able to get married.”

The ceremony will include couples that cannot get married in their own states, some traveling from as far away as Atlanta to share their vows. Heirs is especially touched that a couple that has been together for 50 years will tie the knot at WeDo.

“It was very powerful to find that couple who’s going to be celebrating over 50 years. It gives you chills to think about it. It’s amazing,” Heirs says. “It is so significant for people who have been together over 50 years to be able to stand up and say, ‘Love is love,’ no matter what.”

Baltimore Black Pride Inc., Strapped Up Baltimore, the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Baltimore, Unity Fellowship Church of Baltimore, SEIU Eastern Regions National Lavender Caucus, Alpha Eta Omega Sorority and the Alpha Alpha DMV Chapter of Beta Phi Omega Sorority are sponsoring the event.

The Baltimore Pride Festival, which includes WeDo Baltimore, will be held from noon-5 p.m. This year’s performers are duo J Pope and Funk Friday, Septimius and Unity. In addition to WeDo, there will also be a “Family Zone” with activities for children to enjoy. For more information on WeDo Baltimore and Baltimore Pride, visit baltimorepride.org.

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Out & About

Pride Run 5K nearly sold out

Front Runners annual event to be held at Congressional Cemetery

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Front Runners Pride Run 5K (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Sign up now to join the annual Front Runners Pride Run 5K. The event is 85 percent sold out. The event is Friday, June 7 at Historic Congressional Cemetery.

Join more than 1,000 runners and walkers as they kick off Pride weekend 2024. When registering please consider donating to one of the event’s charity partners. This year’s race proceeds benefit local LGBTQ and disenfranchised youth organizations, including the Team DC Student-Athlete Scholarship, Wanda Alston Foundation, Blade Foundation, Ainsley’s Angels of America (National Capital Region), Pride365 and SMYAL. Visit DCPriderun.com to register or to donate.

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Out & About

Civil rights commission to celebrate queer life

Panel discussion to discuss progress in LGBTQ rights

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(Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

The Maryland Commission on Civil Rights will host “Celebrating Progress and Centering Joy” on Thursday, June 6 at 12 p.m. virtually.

This event is a virtual panel discussion, as the commission celebrates the progress in LGBTQIA+ rights and center joy within the community. 

This event is free and more details are available on Eventbrite.

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Calendar

Calendar: May 17-23

LGBTQ events in the days to come

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Friday, May 17

Center Aging Friday Tea Time will be at 2 p.m. on Zoom. This is a social hour for older LGBTQ+ adults! Guests are encouraged to bring a beverage of choice. For more information, email [email protected]

Go Gay DC will host “LGBTQ+ Speed Friending” at 7 p.m. at Puro Gusto. This fun weekly event brings the DMV area LGBTQ+ community, including Allies, together for delicious food and conversation. Attendance is free and more details are available on Eventbrite.

Saturday, May 18

LGBTQ People of Color Support Group will be at 1 p.m. on Zoom. This peer support group is an outlet for LGBTQ People of Color to come together and talk about anything affecting them in a space that strives to be safe and judgment free. For more details, ​​visit thedccenter.org/poc or facebook.com/centerpoc.

Go Gay DC will host “LGBTQ+ Brunch” at 11 a.m. at Freddie’s Beach Bar & Restaurant. Attendance is free and more details are available on Eventbrite.

Sunday, May 19

Go Gay DC will host “LGBTQ+ Dinner” at 7 p.m. at Federico Ristorante Italiano. Attendance is free and more details are available on Eventbrite.

AfroCode DC will be at 4 p.m. at Decades DC. This event will be an experience of non-stop music, dancing, and good vibes and a crossover of genres and a fusion of cultures. Tickets cost $40 and can be purchased on Eventbrite

Monday, May 20

Center Aging: Monday Coffee & Conversation will be at 10 a.m. on Zoom. This is a social hour for older LGBTQ+ adults. Guests are encouraged to bring a beverage of their choice. For more details, email [email protected]

Go Gay DC will host “Out and About in Shirlington LGBTQ+ Happy Hour” at 6 p.m. at Palette 22. About 30 LGBTQ folk are expected. Palette 22 offers modern street food spanning the globe served in a bustling art studio & gallery atmosphere. This event is free and more details are available on Eventbrite

Tuesday, May 21

Pride on the Patio Events will host “LGBTQ Social Mixer” at 5:30 p.m. at Showroom. Dress is casual, fancy, or comfortable. Guests are encouraged to bring their most authentic self to chat, laugh, and get a little crazy. Admission is free and more details are on Eventbrite.

Bi Roundtable will be at 7 p.m. on Zoom. This event is an opportunity for people to gather in order to discuss issues related to bisexuality or as Bi individuals in a private setting. For more details, visit Facebook or Meetup

Wednesday, May 22

Job Club will be at 6 p.m. on Zoom. This is a weekly job support program to help job entrants and seekers, including the long-term unemployed, improve self-confidence, motivation, resilience and productivity for effective job searches and networking — allowing participants to move away from being merely “applicants” toward being “candidates.” For more information, email [email protected] or visit thedccenter.org/careers.

Asexual and Aromantic Group will be at 7 p.m. on Zoom. This is a space where people who are questioning this aspect of their identity or those who identify as asexual and/or aromantic can come together, share stories and experiences, and discuss various topics. For more details, email [email protected]

Thursday, May 23

The DC Center’s Fresh Produce Program will be held all day at the DC Center for the LGBT Community. No proof of residency or income is required. For more information, email [email protected] or call 202-682-2245. 

Virtual Yoga with Charles M. will be at 7 p.m. on Zoom. This is a free weekly class focusing on yoga, breathwork, and meditation. For more details, visit the DC Center for the LGBT Community’s website.

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