Love Experiment: Marriage at Rose Parade

shutterstock_144753940The Rose Parade organizers kept it under wraps for as long as they could, but the word is now out (no pun intended): Two men will get “married” on top of an AIDS awareness float at the fabled Pasadena, CA, event broadcast across the nation and around the world.

Unlike television coverage of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which largely consists of showing Broadway numbers, conducting celebrity interviews, and hosts bantering inanely with hosts across town; the Rose Parade production actually gives viewers a good look at the floats, which are often marvels of construction.

So on New Years Day viewers everywhere will probably get a close look at the AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s giant wedding-cake-shaped float (themed “Love is the Best Protection”), which will be covered with coconut chips, kidney beans, roses and orchids, with a live groom-and-groom cake topper.

It’s the third year the Foundation will have a float in the Rose Parade — because nothing says “Protect yourself from AIDS” like a parade float made of flowers. But this year, the float has a second theme: celebrating “marriage equity” victories.

Those outraged by the victories, such as the majority of California voters, don’t feel much like celebrating. But thanks to the Rose Parade, they won’t be given the choice.

Advocates for redefining marriage continue to say they don’t want to antagonize anyone. But after years of bitter fighting over the issue, a fight in which California voters amended their state Constitution to formally define marriage as between a man and a woman only to have the law ruled unconstitutional by a homosexual judge, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation apparently decided that the best way to not antagonize fellow Californians was by having a wedding ceremony for two men at one of the state’s most famous events, and broadcast it internationally.

For its part, the Rose Parade is fine with that. “Like all of our sponsors and float designers, AHF continues to help make the Rose Parade a premier event through original and creative expressions that connect to parade themes — as this float does,” organizers said in a statement late last week. In PR speak, that’s as close as it gets to an endorsement.

The parade’s theme is “Dreams Come True.” The idea behind the float is that the wedding dreams of two men have come true (don’t worry, there will be a “married” lesbian couple at another location on the float for gender equity) and that —  AHF spokesman Ged Kenslea told the LA Times — “marriage saves lives.”

But the couple themselves are more truthful. Together for 10 years, they were not in any hurry to get married before they won the opportunity to be in the Rose Parade. Now, with the chance to be seen all over the world, they’re speaking out about what they really want.

“Love comes in many forms and should be honored and should be celebrated,” one of the men told Pasadena Star-News reporter Sarah Favot. To that end, they’ve started a social media campaign asking everyone to “declare their love for a person, group or place” on January 1, using the hashtag “loveexperiment.”

So which is it? Is marriage a the bedrock of society, an indispensable institution older than all governments and cultures and thus meant to be protected and propagated by all governments and cultures, or just one of many “love experiments” that should all be honored and celebrated?

To those who wonder, despite the swath of  destruction to families and entire nations wrought by no fault divorce, “how will this affect my marriage?” we have an easy answer. If everyone regards your marriage as just an experiment, what does it matter to anyone if that experiment fails?

After all, you can always declare your love to another person, group, or place.

Avatar photo


Gail D. Finke is an author and mother living in Cincinnati, where she writes for The Catholic Beat at Sacred Heart Radio.

Subscribe to CE
(It's free)

Go to Catholic Exchange homepage