Tuesday, December 10

Gay couple weds at UCLA


Ceremony goes off without a hitch, concludes National Coming Out Week

On Friday afternoon, with a surprising lack of opposition, UCLA
became the first college in California to hold a gay marriage on
campus.

Peter Lopez, a former chairman of La Familia (a lesbian, gay,
bisexual, transgender organization for Chicano/a students) married
Willie Romero, his boyfriend of seven months, in Bruin Plaza before
hundreds of onlookers.

“I now pronounce you partners for life,” said
Jeffrey Prang, the mayor of West Hollywood, who performed the
ceremony.

The grooms then kissed and hugged amid cheers from the
crowd.

“The wedding went fabulous. It was a blast,” Prang
said.

The ceremony was a symbolic event and will not be officially
recognized under state law.

The wedding concluded National Coming Out Week at UCLA.

In a speech prior to the ceremony, Prang called the event
“a symbol to advance the rights of LGBT people.”

Though organizers had expected protesters, none appeared.

Coordinators of the event were overjoyed with the response the
ceremony received.

“It’s a great feeling to know the campus supports
the LGBT community so much,” said Kian Boloori, chairman of
the Queer Alliance, a coalition group made up of the six LGBT
organizations on campus.

Adam Levy, a founding member of Mishpacha, an organization for
Jewish LGBT students, agreed that the response was overwhelmingly
positive.

“It gives me the shivers almost,” Levy said,
referring to the openness with which the event was received by the
campus.

He noted that this year marked the first in his five years at
UCLA that protesters have not shown up at any LGBT events.

Many opponents of gay marriage believe allowing two LGBT members
to marry will harm marriage as an institution, resulting in higher
divorce rates and a lack of respect for the sacredness of the
ceremony.

Prang does not believe that homosexual marriages will affect
traditional weddings in any way, and thinks forbidding LBGT people
to legally marry is a form of oppression based on homophobia.

“Our desire to have marriages recognized as equal has
nothing to do with whether heterosexual marriage is strong as an
institution,” he said.

Before being recalled, Gov. Gray Davis signed Assembly Bill 205,
which grants same-sex partners state rights such as property rights
and the right to claim his or her partner’s dead body.

Most rights married couples receive are from the federal
government.

While AB205 will grant Lopez and Romero some rights, the two
will not receive a majority of the rights of traditional married
couples.

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