Summer Sale Extended! Get unlimited digital access for 13 weeks for $13.
Gay In Maryland
Lifestyle Gay In Maryland

Baltimore mayor to preside over mass wedding at GLBT Pride event

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake will preside over a mass wedding of same-sex couples at this year's Baltimore Pride Celebration, with the event drawing interest from couples as far away as Atlanta, according to organizers.

In November, Maryland became one of the first states to have same-sex marriage approved by voters in a referendum.

"After doing so much work on this — on the ballot initiative — we thought, how do we really celebrate this?" said organizer Carrietta Hiers, who plans to marry her partner of nearly 13 years, Tonya Cook, at the ceremony.

The GLBT Community Center of Baltimore and Central Maryland is hosting the annual parade and block party in Mount Vernon and festival at Druid Hill Park — the largest gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender gathering in the state — on June 15 and 16. The mass wedding will take place in the park at 2:30 p.m. June 16.

Hiers, who set up the Facebook page WeDoBmore to raise interest in the event, said she has heard from about a dozen couples who want to be part of the mass wedding, and is fielding requests for more information from others. Couples must obtain a marriage license from the city clerk's office a few days before the event, per regulations.

Ryan O'Doherty, a spokesman for Rawlings-Blake, confirmed that the mayor will officiate marriages and speak at the event. Rawlings-Blake also performed marriages at City Hall for several couples just after midnight Jan. 1, when the law went into effect. Last week, Baltimore Pride organizers announced Rawlings-Blake would serve as grand marshal in recognition of her support of gay rights.

Hiers said she reached out to the mayor because of that history of support.

"She's been an advocate for us all along," Hiers said of Rawlings-Blake.

Two local ministers will also be on hand to perform marriages.

Hiers, a gay rights advocate in Baltimore, is excited for her own wedding, as well as in the interest from other couples, who will be coming from Atlanta and Philadelphia, in addition to Maryland. She believes the mass wedding to be one of the first such events of its kind.

"It's exciting, it's history," she said.

An earlier version of this article contained incorrect information about how couples can obtain a marriage license. The Baltimore Sun regrets the error.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
  • Blog: Gay Matters

    Blog: Gay Matters

  • Section: Gay in Maryland

    Section: Gay in Maryland

  • If you have two grooms, what do you call the rest of the wedding party?

    If you have two grooms, what do you call the rest of the wedding party?

    It didn’t take my fiancé and me very long to decide who would join us down the aisle. We have a small, intimate circle of friends, so choosing them was easy. We settled on having six of our friends who would make up our party: four women and two men. The hard part was finding the right words to...

  • Commentary: Mayor wrong to marry gay couples

    Mayor wrong to marry gay couples

    It was extremely disappointing to read in The Sun that Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is planning to preside over same-sex marriages on June 16 here in Baltimore ("Mayor will preside over mass wedding of gay couples," May 20). I, and many others, believe her decision to do so speaks volumes about...

  • Maryland celebrities' weddings

    Maryland celebrities' weddings

    'Tis the season to get married, and local celebrities are no exception. From politicians to athletes and TV personalities, we've rounded up engagement and wedding photos from Baltimore's biggest names. Who knows? Perhaps you'll find inspiration for your own nuptials. -- L'Oreal Thompson

  • Maryland weddings

    Maryland weddings

    Browse photos of recent Maryland weddings -- from traditional church ceremonies to quirky, Baltimore-themed celebrations. To read more about each couple's story, go to Just wedded? Email your wedding details to