As with most weddings, rings, photos, marriage certificates and cake will accompany today’s 18th annual Queer Wedding ceremony.
Kicking off at noon in Storke Plaza today, the mass wedding ceremony will last three hours and be presided over by Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Michael Young. The event, organized by the Queer Student Union as part of a series of events celebrating Queer Pride Week, is expected to attract over 250 attendees from the campus and local community.
QSU Co-chair Nina Garcia said the Queer Wedding is one of the most popular events of Queer Pride Week and that the event, while intended to promote gay marriage, is open to all participants regardless of sexual orientation.
“The purpose of the wedding is to show that everyone should have the right to get married.” Garcia said. “It emphasizes gay marriage, but we want to celebrate diversity and provide civility and educational awareness about Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transexual/Transgender Queer Intersex Allies. But it doesn’t matter who gets married. Everyone should come and get married, even to themselves. We are really just trying to be all inclusive, and hopefully everyone sees that we are trying to make everyone feel good about themselves.”
Vice Chancellor Young, who will read the wedding vows authored by the QSU, said the wedding is representative of the values of equality that he feels should be emphasized on campus.
“For me, the wedding is an extraordinary symbolic event that supports and promotes the notion of diversity on campus.” Young said. “But even more importantly, it addresses the responsibility that I have in this institution to support the fundamental values that all people in society should have. I am very pleased to be a part of the ceremony, and I always hope that they will ask me back each year.”
According to the UCSB Queer Pride Week brochure, the Queer Wedding will be followed by the Queer Pride Festival in Anisq’ Oyo’ Park lasting from 3 to 7 p.m. Intended to act as the wedding reception, the festival will feature musical performances from Dawn Thomas, Jay Brannan and God-des & She, as well as a bounce house, obstacle course, face painting and free food.
Queer Pride Week, which began last Saturday, will conclude on Saturday with a masquerade pride ball in the Hub. Previously in the week, QSU hosted a string of events including Monday’s Queer Pride Parade, Tuesday’s Porn Workshop, Wednesday’s Queer Bombing Social at Giovanni’s and Berrilicious, and Thursday’s “Drag Queens at the 801 Cabaret” performance.
Garcia said the QSU primarily received funding for Queer Pride Week from the Associated Students Finance Board and A.S. Queer Commission, but that the After Dark program, Pacific Pride Foundation and Women’s Studies Honors Program also made contributions.
“This year it’s been really good because we’ve been able to reach out to a lot of organizations.” Garcia said. “We were having budget issues, but we were able to get some extra money from other organizations, which is really nice. This whole week has been a good collaboration with allied organizations and departments.”
QSU Co-chair Sam Cisneros said that today’s event is part of an effort to bring the attention of same-sex marriage to everyone so that it may become legalized.
“It’s just to represent that everyone should be treated equally, and that we are working to have the same rights as everyone else.” Cisneros said.