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Baltimore mayor officiates group wedding ceremony at pride festival

Monday, June 17, 2013
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BALTIMORE — Twenty same-sex couples were married Sunday in a mass wedding ceremony at the annual Baltimore pride festival.

The ceremony at Baltimore’s Druid Hill Park was officiated by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, and was the first mass same-sex wedding ceremony in the city’s history.

The Baltimore Sun
Twenty same-sex couples participated in a mass wedding ceremony in Baltimore on Sunday.

“I now pronounce you married,” Rawlings-Blake said as the couples kissed and embraced each other. “It was a very touching ceremony and it was truly my honor to officiate … to celebrate love and equality.”

Rawlings-Blake, who also served as grand marshal of the annual pride parade on Saturday, has been strong ally of the city’s LGBT community, said Carrietta Hiers, who organized the mass wedding.

“She [Rawlings-Blake] believes in equality for everyone,” said Hiers.

But not everyone in the city was approving of the ceremony.

Rev. Lynwood H. Leverette from the Mount Pisgah CME Church in West Baltimore called the mayor’s involvement was “alarming.”

“I find it somewhat embarrassing to go anywhere in the country and say, ‘I’m from Baltimore,’ and someone brings up that our mayor thinks it prudent to participate in that,” Leverette said. “She should have left well enough alone.”

Same-sex marriage became legal in Maryland on January 1 following approval last year by the General Assembly, and by voters on a referendum in November 2012.

A similar group wedding was conducted at Southern Maine Pride in Portland on Saturday.

A video of the event is at The Baltimore Sun.

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