New Yorkers celebrate same-sex marriage in pop-up wedding chapels
Pastor Mark Cutolo officiates over the marriage of Scott Baumann and Tom Corujo.
July 30th, 2011
10:41 PM ET

New Yorkers celebrate same-sex marriage in pop-up wedding chapels

Twenty-four gay and lesbian couples were wed Saturday under two “pop-up” chapels designed to celebrate the first full weekend of same-sex marriage in New York.

With every “I do,” jubilant whoops and cheers burst from the crowd, a mix of friends, family and passers-by.

The weddings, although held adjacent to the commotion of New York City’s Columbus Circle, felt comfortably ensconced in Central Park. The event’s organizers reported no protests or disturbances throughout the day.

The two chapels, named KISS and ICRAVE, were chosen from more than 50 entries after a 10-day design competition. KISS, designed by architect Guy Zucker, consisted of two interlocking, helix-shaped wood frames.

Carley Roney, co-founder of the marriage service The Knot, which co-sponsored the event, said KISS was constructed this way because, as with a marriage, “the two pieces can’t stand on their own. They need each other to stand up.”

Meanwhile, ICRAVE, designed by architect Lionel Ohayon, covered the betrothed with an array of rainbow-colored ribbon bands dangling from a makeshift roof. The rainbow colors were chosen to reflect gay pride, Roney said.

While the pop-up chapels will be demolished after the event, the newlyweds said there was nothing ephemeral about the vows taken beneath them.

“I promise to always help you find your keys; I promise to give you all the credit when people compliment me in your clothes... I promise to always have your back,” Katrina Olson said to her new wife, Tiffany Hopkins. “The only thing I can’t promise you is my heart, ’cause you stole it so many years ago.”

Afterwards, a friend of the couple’s played The Beatles’ “When I’m Sixty-Four,” inviting a sing-along from the street crowd and many of the event’s volunteers.

Like the ceremony for Hopkins and Olson, the services throughout the day focused far more on the relationships than the novelty, or historical significance, of a same-sex marriage.

Shari Berkowitz, one of the wedding’s officiants, said this marked a change from some of the same-sex commitment ceremonies she oversaw 15 years ago, which were often marked with tension. On Saturday, Berkowitz officiated the wedding of Gabrielle Harmon and Jacqueline Cabrera.

“Now, you will feel no rain, for each of you will be shelter to the other,” she said at the ceremony.

The weather Saturday sunny without a cloud in the sky seemed to make this assurance unnecessary.

Additionally, the day’s attendees said their thoughts were not clouded by the lawsuit, filed this Monday by the conservative group New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedom, challenging the legality of the same-sex marriage law.

“I think it’s going to die,” Jen Frankel said of the lawsuit before she married Jessica Schoen.

Bex Schwartz, one of the event’s organizers, added, “I’m an eternal optimist; I hope the right way will win out... people realize that we can’t say some people are better than others.”

Although the Rev. Jason McGuire, NYCEF’s executive director, has questioned the impact of same-sex marriage on religious institutions, the wedding ceremonies Saturday seemed to embrace the convergence of religious rites and homosexuality.

For instance, during the wedding of Tom Carujo and Scott Baumann, a gay couple of nearly 30 years, Pastor Mark Cutolo discussed the significance of the rainbow in the Bible.

After the flood, “the eternal God gave Noah the rainbow as a promise he would never destroy the earth again,” Cutolo said.

Now, rainbows also serve as a powerful symbol of gay rights and diversity, he said, and the two are complementary, not contradictory.

“So, the rainbow is a sign of hopefulness, of life,” Cutolo said, looking up at the effervescent ICRAVE. “A sign that we feel blessed by God.”

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Filed under: Gay and lesbian • New York • Same-sex marriage
soundoff (85 Responses)
  1. Jazzzzzzzz

    BTW... just to say to the folks here, I have the BESTEST brother in the world who came by to drop off my jug of water and gave me some (wild flowers), cause I wasn't feeling well. love my bro x's ten. :)

    July 31, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jazzzzzzzz

    @ Ruffles , I know what your saying but they are Gods children too and as such we should pray for them to find Gods path before it's too late.

    July 31, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Madame Royale

    Congratulations to the happy couples.
    That's all.

    July 31, 2011 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  4. away with tea party

    These crack diggers need to stop

    July 31, 2011 at 7:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      Perhaps its better if you take you 'hate' somewhere else! Take it home with you! I am sure your family will enjoy it!

      August 1, 2011 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
  5. fernace

    I 'm going out on a limb here to say "away with the tea party" is a man! It's so like a man to think the world is only full of other men, even gay men. Crack diggers is kind of derogatory terminology, but even worse, you left out the muff divers! Even if all you're gonna do is make crass remarks at least show some equality! OK! Thanks!!

    August 1, 2011 at 2:41 am | Report abuse |
  6. tesse

    You guys are idiots. Grow up. 'Uh yuk yuk, the cake must be fudge! I'm so clever!!'

    August 1, 2011 at 5:00 am | Report abuse |
  7. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    Well now, y'all can say whutever you want to, but we're still going right on 'head with my buddies' gay wedding/shindig Thursday, and I'm just plain too smart to bug them 'cause I don't care to see any fudge cake at all when we're supposed to be eating vanilla-divinity color to promulgate the vi-
    rg-
    inity lie. I have heard a rumor that one of the guys has carefully tinted his white shirt the faintest tone and saturation of pink to accommodate a priest's insistence.

    August 1, 2011 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
  8. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    BTW, my gay-guy buddy who's getting married Thursday told me this morning that they are planning for children.

    August 1, 2011 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
  9. catherine williams

    Galatians 3:28

    There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

    August 1, 2011 at 10:00 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Avser Bastian

    GOVERNMENT "AFTERLIFE" FLASH MOB OR REAL SHOOTING IN UTOYA, NORWAY !!? stateofterror.blogspot.com/ or stateofterror.wordpress.com/ TEARS OF SORROW AND PAIN ON FACES OF MOURNERS OR TEAR GAS AND THEATER/HYPOCRISY ON FACES OF MULTICULTURALISM MANIACS !!? NORWEGIAN OSLO POLICE or COMMUNIST/LIBERAL CRIMINALS IN BLUE UNIFORMS WHO WERE PREPARING FOR TERROR AGAINST NORWAY ALREADY HALF DECADE AHEAD !!? No doubt about bombing in Oslo, but what about shooting in Utoya which was no different from the one in Arizona !!!? WILL THERE BE OBAMINATOR MORALES'S APOCALYPSE NOW OR TOTAL WAR AGAINST NEW WORLD ORDER(multiculturalism) !!? STOLTENBERG = BREIVIK(90 minutes vs 30 and for government vehicles or police even 20 minutes the most) !!!

    DICTATOR OBAMA = STALIN = BUSH or USA = SOVIET UNION http://avsecbostjan.blogspot.com/ or http://avsecbostjan.wordpress.com/

    COMMUNISM(Slowenien/Slovenia) IN CENTRAL & EASTERN EUROPE TODAY(2011) !!! http://sloveniatoday.blogspot.com or http://easterneuropetoday.wordpress.com/

    August 2, 2011 at 3:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Ilya

      I had no goals for July except to suvvire it. Obviously, that goal was achieved go me! For August I dunno. Maybe it's time to give up on the notion that I will ever like running much less be able to conquer it first thing in the morning it seems highly unlikely at this point and just aim to walk for at least 30 minutes 5 times a week. That's healthy and sounds so much more pleasant to me.

      August 11, 2012 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
  11. chillipepper

    yuck

    August 2, 2011 at 5:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Mali

      - Thank you for the comments. August, I am so happy that you and Tony loved the ptohos. I certainly had a fantastic time being a part of your special day. The reception was a total blast. Hope to catch up with you again soon.

      August 11, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
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