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. John

    David Gregory is kicking ass right now

    July 31, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jazzzzzzzz

    Ruffles is posting his own movie for me on another thread, sure he'll be back to give us the scene location.
    so do you read the Bible?

    July 31, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jazzzzzzzz

    the journalist ?

    July 31, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  4. John

    I have, but not frequently...What's with the bible talk? Because of its relation to gay marriage, a ceremony that those who want so split the smallest of hairs want to say are incompatible?

    July 31, 2011 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |

      (_)::::::::D- – (_)8(_)= normal..
      (_):::::::D- – C::::::::::(_)= not normal...

      July 31, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |

    do a search on you tube for "leanord part 6" i love bill cosby..

    July 31, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jazzzzzzzz

    k, thanks ahh heard that was a terrible movie, do remember that, but I digress and will check it out.

    July 31, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |

      i like terrible movies ... AKA "b-movies"
      there is one movie tho... the worst movie i ever seen ever.. if you can watch it from start to finish you are brave... "vegas in space"

      July 31, 2011 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jazzzzzzzz

    @ John you reminded me of a promise to a friend to read the book of John. I was asking you if you read the Bible (just cause)

    July 31, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jazzzzzzzz

    but it is in the Bible that you know what with the same s-e-x is against Gods law. I follow God NOT the popular crowd.

    July 31, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jazzzzzzzz

    what say you to that? get me?

    July 31, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jazzzzzzzz

    sorry had to do my post in sections, it wouldn't post otherwise.

    July 31, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jazzzzzzzz

    @ Ruffles...Now you just want to torture me with B-MOVIES, not nice pal! 🙂

    July 31, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |

    it's real easy to prove same se–x is wrong...
    lock 10 pairs of animals up in 2 area... half same s3x / half mixed.. come back later and see which one last and populates...

    July 31, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jazzzzzzzz

    Good come-back on the (hikers) blog BTW

    July 31, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jazzzzzzzz

    Ruffles, your really *SMOKING* today! couldn't agree with you more on your 3:03 post! well said sir!

    July 31, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |

    personally i dont care if some one is gay.... i just dont care or want to know about it...

    July 31, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
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