Students participate in mock same sex marriages
Ceremonies officiated by student are part of annual Freedom to Marry Day
February 29, 2012, 11:15 pm · Updated March 2, 2012, 7:32 pm·
Christina Prudencio | DP
College junior Elaine Ogden and College senior Elisa Asencio symbolically tied the knot Wednesday afternoon.
Ogden wore a white dress and Asencio stood in shirt and jeans. They celebrated with Ben & Jerry’s cake and sparkling cider in Houston Hall.
College junior Matthew Valdespino, chair of Allies, acted as the un-ordained wedding minister and announced them wife and wife.
Ogden and Asencio were among those unofficially married at the Lambda Allies’ annual Freedom to Marry Day.
“The Freedom to Marry campaign is a national campaign that endeavors to get same sex marriage approved,” director of the LGBT Center Bob Schoenberg said.
Freedom to Marry Day is celebrated all over the nation and involves symbolically marrying students throughout the day. It is organized by National Marriage Equality USA, a grass roots nonprofit organization. The national Freedom to Marry Day happened Feb. 12, but Penn Alliance had postponed its event until this week.
Valdespino said the day’s aim is to “bring together the straight community and the LGBT community, [and to] make it a little more tolerant.”
The event took on even more significance this year given the recent legalization of same-sex marriage in the New York and Washington states.
“The changes in New York and Washington demonstrate an ongoing change in just how people view LGBT individuals,” Valdespino said. “I think it’s important that Penn works along with this established movement to help promote [its visibility.]”
Valdespino speculated Pennsylvania would be the next state to legalize same-sex marriage.
“It’s good that we could start getting the Penn community active in whatever efforts that will entail down the road,” he said.
Ogden and Asencio happily cut into their mint cookies and cream ice cream cake after their ceremony.
Asencio, who is also a member of PennULTRA — an arts-focused student group under the Lambda Alliance — had proposed to her new bride with an impromptu text message the night before.
For Ogden, although the wedding was a “fun thing to do for the afternoon,” it was also a unique way of addressing the issue of same-sex marriage. “I think it definitely got people’s attentions more than if we walked in with signs or something like that,” she said.
Freedom to Marry Day is “a signal to the Penn community that any relationship that’s founded on love is worth marriage and should be recognized by the state as such,” Valdespino said.
This story has been updated to reflect that Valdespino is the chair of Allies, not “Penn Alliance,” and is a junior, not a sophomore.