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Marriage Equality on Ice

Marriage Equality on Ice


Three days after two same-sex couples made history by tying the knot 20,000 feet above Sweden, the third couple to win SAS Airlines' "Love Is in the Air" marriage contest exchanged vows Thursday at the Ice Hotel.

North Carolina residents Thomas Landreth and Brett Kessler were married in the Ice Hotel's Grand Hall. The ceremony was sprinkled with Swedish customs (the guests, mostly American journalists and a few members of the local press, attempted to serenade the couple with a traditional Swedish song about the Northern Lights, "Se Norrsken Dansar, Lyser") as well as a traditional ring exchange, and, at the grooms' request, the Lord's Prayer.

A local priest presided over the ceremony, looking much warmer than the grooms in a floor-length goat fur cloak with matching gloves. She said it was her first male couple, but she has married a few lesbian couples. "This was very nice, don't you think," she said after the ceremony before joining the couple in the Absolut Ice Bar for a toast.

The couple spent the two days leading up to the ceremony exploring the northern part of Sweden, enjoying dogsled and snowmobile rides as well as traditional meals in huts built by the Sami (Arctic indigenous people throughout the northern parts of Finland and Sweden). They'll spend the three days following the ceremony honeymooning in Stockholm.

"This is amazing, but I don't think it's really going to sink in until it's all over," Landreth said following the ceremony.

"This was a totally unique experience," Kesslar added.

More than 150 couples are married each season at the Ice Hotel and, with marriage equality in Sweden, an increasing number of those are same-sex couples.

Landreth and Kessler, who have been together for two and a half years, were handed a marriage license after the ceremony legalizing their marriage in Sweden.
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