Aspen Gay Ski Week won’t be breaking the record for largest mass civil-union wedding, but two same-sex couples have signed on for the Jan. 18 ceremony at the Limelight Hotel.
Organizers announced in August that they aimed to break the record. According to BBC News, more than 100 gay and lesbian couples were married earlier this month in Rio de Janiero. Brazil has recognized civil unions since 2011.
Jim Guttau, spokesman for Gay Ski Week, said having fewer couples will make it all the more special for those tying the knot.
“Let’s say we had 60 couples or something — that’s a lot,” he said. “I’ve seen those done at Red Rocks on Valentine’s Day, and it’s really not that personal. I think this will be a little bit better because we’ll have an area for the families and close friends to sit up front.”
Brett McNamee and his partner, Larry McDonald, who met in Denver, represent the only male couple to sign on. McDonald is best known for his alternate persona, Roxy, a drag queen who helps judge Aspen Mountain’s Downhill Costume Parade & Contest. The couple wrote in an email that it “means a lot to have our ceremony with our friends and family during this event.”
“We aren’t trying to make a statement of any kind, but at the same time supporting any step forward for equality just helps get to the next level of true equal rights,” they wrote.
Kim Foster, who is marrying Anne Tully, said civil unions grant “basic rights that any committed couple deserves.” In an email, she detailed the story of Tully’s former partner, who died. When Tully’s partner was hospitalized, Tully was denied any say in the decision-making process and wasn’t allowed in the hospital room. The ceremony will mark the Evergreen couple’s fifth year together.
Guttau said that organizers searched for a record of the largest group civil-union ceremony but couldn’t find anything official.
“We really researched, but there’s really no record out there,” he said. “And when we weren’t getting people clamoring to do it, we decided to focus more on the couples rather than promoting it as the largest (group ceremony).”
With this being the first wedding ceremony at Gay Ski Week, Guttau hopes it will grow in the future, just as the downhill costume contest has. Organizers expect more than 100 people at the ceremony. The original plan was for the event to be held in Wagner Park, but organizers have chosen to move it inside to accommodate the large group.