The Universal Life Church Ministries is unfortunate in that it rarely gets to observe first-hand the wedding ceremonies performed by the hundreds of men and women it ordains every day. So, while thousands of marriages have been officiated by our ministers since the ULC Ministries was founded in 2006, the ULC has only been able to witness a handful as official guests.
Our organization is also frequently frustrated by the level to which we can assist gay rights organizations in the push for marriage equality in America, despite our long-standing vocal support for it. Despite providing the means to create wedding officiants who will perform gay wedding ceremonies and the financial support we have given to gay rights organizations, the ULC has for a long time wished to be on the forefront of the push for marriage equality but has been unsure how to do so.
This all changed on July 30, 2011.
On this day, four staff members of the Universal Life Church Ministries traveled to New York to attend the Pop-Up Chapel in New York City’s world-renowned Central Park. 24 gay couples were married in ceremonies performed by 12 wedding officiants, eight of which were ordained by the ULC Ministries, at Merchant’s Gate near Columbus Circle. Twelve couples were married under two custom-designed and temporarily-built “chapels”. While the event was not open to the public, hundreds of spectators were able to view the weddings from a dozen feet away and cheer on the newly-wedded couples.
This event was made possible by the New York State senate’s June 24 decision to legalize gay marriage in the Empire State. This decision, which was passed thanks mostly to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and the cross-party coalition he fostered, made New York the sixth state in the United States in which gay marriage is possible. Some claim that New York’s decision to legalize gay marriage may push a slew of states to follow suit.
In short, the ULC was proud to attend the event, see its ministers use their online ordinations, and take part in the forefront of the push for marriage equality and we hope to attend similar events in other states where gay marriage is legalized.
If you have questions about the Pop-Up Chapel event, please visit www.popupchapel.com.