Advocates worry about focus on "flamboyant" weddings

BY admin

May 04 2004 12:00 AM ET

Some gay rights advocates are concerned that the mid-May celebration of the nation's first legal same-sex marriages in Massachusetts could make future political fights more difficult if the expected horde of international media focuses on unorthodox weddings. "Any sort of bizarre or hyper-unusual weddings will be used as a weapon against the gay community in the political battles of this upcoming year," said Arline Isaacson, coleader of the Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus. "We obviously have some concern that some media outlets may focus on the flamboyant."

The nation's first court-sanctioned same-sex weddings are set to become legal on May 17, the day when cities and towns across Massachusetts can begin accepting applications for marriage licenses for gay and lesbian couples. It will be a milestone in the battle for gay rights, but the victory could be short-lived if Massachusetts voters ultimately approve a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would ban same-sex marriage.

Several gay and lesbian couples who meandered through an exposition Sunday of gay wedding services at a Cambridge hotel said their weddings would be far from flamboyant, with some even describing their plans as "boring." Cindy Sproul, co-owner of exposition organizer RainbowWeddingNetwork.com, an online wedding gift and service registry for gays and lesbians, said gay couples appear to want the same trappings that straight couples want. "They want to wear tuxes, they want to wear gowns, they want traditional weddings," she said. "They want the same things: a DJ, a florist, a caterer. They don't want anything different."

Advocates are concerned that if the media treat gay marriage the same way they have traditionally treated gay pride parades--with the lens focused on the most outrageous outfits--it could become even more difficult to defeat the amendment. "It's always amazing to me when I see depictions of gays and lesbians in the media," said Joshua Friedes of the Freedom to Marry Coalition of Massachusetts. "The bottom line is that most of us have remarkably boring lives."

David "Dixie" Federico, a former drag queen and newly ordained online minister in Provincetown, bristles at the idea that couples should be forced to conform to any type of code when they finally get to enter an institution denied to them for so long. But he thinks tradition will be the order of the day, at
least in the first weeks. "I think everyone in the beginning is going to be on their best behavior,"
said Federico, who manages a Provincetown restaurant. "But no matter what, they're going to look for the butchest women and the most effeminate men. It's the nature of the beast."

Alfredo Roldan-Flores, 38, an occupational therapist from Boston, spent part of Sunday at the expo with his partner, David Koses, 36. Roldan-Flores said he and Koses have planned a June wedding and a low-key Sunday brunch to celebrate. "I hope the media treats it with the respect it deserves. I really don't want them to make a freak show of it, because it's not a freak show; it's a celebration of life," he said. "Trust me, we're not taking this trivially."

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