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Fake weddings draw attention to real political issue

Senior uses art project to draw attention to gay marriage

 by Allison Denny
 published on Thursday, April 10, 2008

<b>YOU MAY KISS THE MAN:</b> Kyle (left) and Danny, who would not give their last names, share their first kiss as a married couple in a same-sex marriage ceremony production on Hayden Lawn Wednesday produced by theatre senior Candace Brayer for her Theatre in the Future course./issues/news/704667
Jeffrey Lowman / THE STATE PRESS
YOU MAY KISS THE MAN: Kyle (left) and Danny, who would not give their last names, share their first kiss as a married couple in a same-sex marriage ceremony production on Hayden Lawn Wednesday produced by theatre senior Candace Brayer for her Theatre in the Future course.
 
<b>HERE COME THE BRIDES:</b> Brenda (left) and Audrea, who would not give their last names, walk away from the altar after they were married as life partners./issues/news/704667
Jeffrey Lowman / THE STATE PRESS
HERE COME THE BRIDES: Brenda (left) and Audrea, who would not give their last names, walk away from the altar after they were married as life partners.
 
<b>WITH THIS RING:</b> Audrea (left) receives her ring from Brenda as the two are married in a same-sex ceremony theater production on Hayden Lawn Wednesday./issues/news/704667
Jeffrey Lowman / THE STATE PRESS
WITH THIS RING: Audrea (left) receives her ring from Brenda as the two are married in a same-sex ceremony theater production on Hayden Lawn Wednesday.
 

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Mendelssohn's "Wedding March" rang through Hayden Lawn Wednesday as four couples were pronounced lawfully wedded partners kind of.

The ceremony came as part of theatre senior Candace Brayer's final project for Theatre in the Future, her capstone class. The project requires students to construct a performance or event, and Brayer picked an issue important to her: gay marriage.

"I just feel really strongly about this issue, and I don't think a lot of people are thinking about it or talking about it enough," she said.

The ceremony, organized with the help of ASU's LGBTQ lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer or questioning Coalition on campus, sheds light on an issue particularly important right now with the upcoming presidential elections, Brayer said.

In the political world, she said, civil rights issues take a backseat to other issues.

"I don't think civil rights should ever be pushed to the back," she said.

The three top contenders for the presidency oppose same-sex marriage, Brayer added, though they also oppose a constitutional amendment banning it.

Currently, same-sex marriage is only legal in Massachusetts, though the federal Defense of Marriage Act prohibits the federal government from recognizing the unions as marriage for any purpose.

According to the act, signed into law in 1996 by Bill Clinton, no state must consider a union between two people of the same sex as marriage, even if the relationship is considered marriage in another state.

David Coffman, a co-adviser for the LGBTQ Coalition and a professor at the Herberger College's School of Theatre and Film, administered the ceremonies, pronouncing the couples "partners in marriage."

Coffman is an ordained minister through the Universal Life Church.

"I wish it was something that had legal affect here in the state and maybe someday it will," Coffman said.

Tempe resident Audria Lim used to work with Brayer and decided to help her with the project.

Lim, 21, participated in one of the ceremonies, though the woman she "married" is not her partner.

"It's an event to make people stop and think about what's really going on," she said. "Everybody should have equal rights."

A guest book near the site of the ceremonies gave students a place to write what they thought about gay marriage.

Music senior Ashley Haney stopped to watch the ceremony and share her thoughts on gay marriage.

"We all deserve equal rights, and I think it's something that's kind of a no-brainer," she said.

Theatre senior Brian Smith is in Brayer's theatre class and came to support her project.

"I like the idea of people seeing it's not really different from [conventional marriage ceremonies]," he said.

But, while Smith thinks the ceremonies are important for students to recognize, he said the forum in which they were held might not be taken seriously.

Since so many issues are forced onto students every day on campus, Smith said, many of the points made aren't sinking in.

"There are a myriad of issues we see every day," he said. "We get so bombarded, we tend to block it all out."

Reach the reporter at: allison.denny@asu.edu.



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