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. Jeff

    Once again, the word of god is distorted in it's meaning. The pastor himself quotes, After the flood, “the eternal God gave Noah the rainbow as a promise he would never destroy the earth again,” Cutolo said.

    God never said he would not destroy the earth again. The purpose of the rainbow is a sign God would never use water to destroy the earth again, there's a big difference. Below is the scripture that states this. But in Revelation, God will purge the entire earth by destroying it with fire.

    Quote, "that the rainbow shall be seen in the cloud; and I will remember My covenant which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh."

    This is in the process that is stated in Revelation where God is creating a "new heaven and earth". In other words, he's doing it all over again because sin has caused so much corruption throughout the world and the earth itself, he does away with it all and starts over.

    The Bible says the following in Genesis 9:13-15.

    "I set My rainbow in a cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant [promise] between Me and the earth. It shall be, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow shall be seen in the cloud; and I will remember My covenant which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh."

    God said that the rainbow was a sign that He would never again kill over the entire Earth and all living creatures with a flood. It does not mean that floods will never happen. It simply means He would never again destroy the entire Earth with a flood.

    July 31, 2011 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
  2. jj

    @ joey: good 4 U got more juevos than i! its still nasty any way u slice it! i once saw 2 male dogs that were confused goin at it. i guess even nature gets it wrong from time to time. cheers!

    July 31, 2011 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jazzzzzzzz

    @ jj , nah really... you would think that they out of all creatures on earth would see the BALLS coming! ewwwww

    July 31, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jazzzzzzzz

    ahhhhh, I just got a visual, sick !

    July 31, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |

    my dog did the neigbors cat on time... does that make him gay?

    July 31, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jazzzzzzzz

    ummm, was the cat gay? if so anything with the same parts is going against GODS law, Ruffles.
    and to the cat, ouch

    July 31, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jazzzzzzzz

      I would like to retract my second sentence, as it was so not like me to say. I'm getting carried away with the phunie exchanges with Ruffles.
      (stepping back behind the line now)

      July 31, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |

    well the cat was asking for it... all meowing and hikeing it's but in the air... this cat has several litters from different other cats...

    July 31, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  8. John

    What cat guy?

    July 31, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jazzzzzzzz

    Are you saying that's for real? You saw the dog (butting the cat) and it didn't explode. STOP RUFFLES your making me naughty girl today!

    July 31, 2011 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
  10. John

    Didn't explode?

    July 31, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jazzzzzzzz


      July 31, 2011 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  11. John

    Thanks for what? I should thank you for the STOP RUFFLES rendition, haha

    July 31, 2011 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jazzzzzzzz

    Yeah he just caught me on a day where I needed a good old (night out) with my blogging buddies. BTW were are you Queenie, snap to it! we've been waiting for ya.

    July 31, 2011 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |

    my dog is a min-pin.. about cat size.. if the cat has puppies i bet cha they'klll be worth some money... "prussian/min-pins...

    July 31, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
  14. John

    Ha, by Queenie I thought you meant someone from Queens for a second

    July 31, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |

    i still wanna marry donald trump.. then i'll gold plate my whole camaro...

    July 31, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
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