This morning 100 LBGT and straight couples from across the country and around the world said "I DO" in a mass wedding hosted by the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB). The city of Fort Lauderdale is consider to be "The Gay Capital of Florida" by Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Travelers. The affair, titled "Love is Love," is the city's way to celebrate the recent overturn of the marriage equality ban in Florida, which became legal on January 6, 2015, despite the opposition from some politicians - in the end LOVE WON!
The many couples who registered to participate in this historic event, included participants from all over the United States: New York, Ohio, New Mexico, Texas, Boston, San Francisco, North Carolina, Illinois, Arizona, Pittsburgh, Georgia, Oklahoma, Indiana, California, Tennessee, Missouri and Florida, as well as couples from other parts of the world, such as South America and Europe, which reflects the universal love and acceptance that the “Love is Love” wedding represents.
“The stories of the couples who registered for the wedding celebration touched our hearts and make this event so personal and special,” said Nicki E. Grossman, president and CEO, Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Marriage equality is celebration enough. But watching so many couples of all loves walk down the aisle to the beach will be the proverbial icing on the wedding cake.”
Former *NSYNC member and newlywed, Lance Bass was the official “Love is Love” ambassador during what was supposed to be a sunrise beach wedding, however, mother nature decided to sprinkle a bit of rain and the festivities had to be moved indoors. The W Fort Lauderdale Hotel hosted the happy couples and since it's Florida, rice throwing was not in the cards, instead beach balls were used to celebrate the happy occasion. The wedding and marriage vow renewal ceremonies were presided over by Reverend Dr. Durrell Watkins, senior minister, of the Sunshine Cathedral.
Lance Bass and Michael Turchin, who married on December 20 last year, celebrated the Greater Fort Lauderdale special day with lucky couples representing 18 U.S. states, as well as London, Italy, and South America. Tonight, the couple will relive their own wedding, as Lance Loves Michael: The Lance Bass Wedding special premieres on E! tonight at 8 p.m. ET/PT. This will be the first time that American television will air a wedding between two men.
Some of the lucky couples who participated in the Love is Love Wedding include:
Second Chance at Love: Canton, OH
When Jerry lost his partner, Steve, his world was over. Certainly, he thought, he would never get another chance at love. But it was the moving obituary Jerry wrote for Steve that lead to the greatest love of his life – Jeff. By chance, Jeff had read the obituary and knew he would be with the “survivor” in that story one day. That one day came when Jerry took a chance to respond to a “personal” advertisement from Jeff, and the two met in real life more than 14 years ago. “I will always believe that Steve arranged this because there has never been a more perfect love than Jeff and I,” Jerry said.
Snowbirds Flying in From Italy, via Momperone 3, Santa Mana di Galena, ITALY
Philip and his partner have been together for 18.5 years, but never married in their current residence in the United Kingdom, and are prohibited from doing so in their home, Italy. After beginning to “winter” in Greater Fort Lauderdale, Philip chose to marry in a destination that “represents and resolves issues we have with not being able to marry in Italy.”
Déjà Vu: Fort Lauderdale, FL
More than 25 years ago, Stephen Kuttner saw a photo in a magazine of the man he wanted to “have in my life one day.” After an accidental introduction in 2003, Stephen Kuttner met, fell in love with, and proposed to that very same man. Stephen and his husband, Sandy Allen, became domestic partners in Florida in 2009, and later flew to New York to tie the knot in 2011. Decades later, the couple is looking forward to renewing their vows on the same beaches where their paths first crossed so many years ago.
All photos courtesy of: Rodrigo Varela/Getty Images for Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau
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