Exclusive interview: Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake to officiate Baltimore Pride mass same-sex wedding

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Maryland was one of the first states to legalize same-sex marriage and this year the state, just south of the Mason-Dixon line, will celebrate their accomplishments with Pride.

To kick-off Baltimore Pride 2013, a mass same-sex wedding will be hosted by the pride committee with Baltimore’s Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake will be officiating. 

Marriage festivities will commence on Sunday June 16, 2:00pm in Druid Hill Park.

The annual Pride parade and block party will take place June 15 and 16 and is hosted by the GLBT Community Center of Baltimore and Central Maryland.

An organizer of the mass wedding, Carrietta Heirs, plans on marrying her partner of over a decade, Tonya Cook, at the Pride festival. Heirs, set up the Facebook page “We Do” broadcasting the event and inviting same-sex couples to hurry up and get their marriage license. 

According to Heirs, already 12 couples (some traveling from Atlanta) have signed up to be a part of the mass wedding, reported the Huffington Post. 

In addition to her hard work in passing the law, Rawlings-Blake was the first to officiate a same-sex marriage in Baltimore. When the clock struck 12 midnight on January 1, 2013 (the moment the law came into effect), Rawlings-Blake was there at the alter in City Hall as the marriage conductor.

Her first same-sex marriage officiation was the wedding of a mayoral office employee and his husband. 

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake sat down with 429Magazine for an exclusive interview to discuss same-sex marriage and the initiative she led to push the law forward.

429Magazine: On June 16th you will be officiating the mass same-sex marriage. Can you tell us a bit more about it?

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake: I was excited to be asked to perform the wedding. I was pleased right after midnight this year to perform the first same-sex wedding in City Hall and I think that’s what led to this [officiation invitation]during Pride week. I think it’s going to be a great weekend as long as the weather can cooperate!

429Mag: Why are you so excited? What drives you so much to have passion toward the gay and lesbian community?

SRB: I was thinking about why the evolution I have had with the gay and lesbian community and I can’t pinpoint when my advocacy started. It was very natural. I think I was the first  straight politician to come out in favor of same-sex marriage and it just seemed to me a no-brainer.

429Mag: What are your plans for Pride? What does Baltimore have in mind for the Pride weekend [June 15th and 16th] which will be the same weekend as the wedding?

SRB: Pride weekend for me is very exciting because I think it is one of the weekends where self-expression is valued and encouraged. And for me I think it is the only day of the year where I feel like I can wear the proper amount of make-up! I love the energy. It’s just a lot of fun. It’s just great to celebrate a community that has added so much to the [spirit]of Baltimore. So to me it’s just a day of fun!

429Mag: Do you know who’s expected to attend the wedding?

SRB: The organizers would know more about that information. They asked me to perform the wedding and I said as long as they have their documentation I will perform the wedding for whoever shows up. I am not exactly sure who will [attend]I know the invitation went out across the community and you know hopefully somebody will show up. 

429Mag: Finally, what have you and your administration done personally to push same-sex marriage forward?

SRB: Again, I was the first (as far as I know) straight politician to come out in favor of [same-sex marriage]. I lobbied for it, I raised money for the ballot initiative, I did commercials, I put my name and likeness in anyway possible to move the initiative forward.

429Magazine

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