Fake weddings a 'success'
MVHS Queer-Straight Alliance celebrates diversity, inclusiveness with 'mock wedding'
Supporters of Mountain View High School's Queer-Straight Alliance have responded in force to objections raised by a handful of parents who took issue with the club's planned Valentine's Day event.
The "Mock Wedding" event held Valentine's Day in the school's quad, drew the ire of at least three parents, who complained to the board of trustees and administration of the Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District.
The three parents who raised concerns about the event — Jody Hulse, Dan Racine and Melanee Nelson — each said they felt that the district was effectively endorsing same-sex marriage by allowing the club to hold the mock wedding in the school commons. Nelson, asked whether any club openly opposed to same-sex marriage had been offered equal time to share that viewpoint.
Despite these complaints, the club went forward with the event on Feb. 14, and saw a great turnout, according to Anna Livia Chen, president of the Queer-Strait Alliance club at MVHS.
The event was promoted in the school's daily bulletin as a way to celebrate the belief that "love is love, regardless of gender." According to Chen, students were able to step up in front of the large crowd, declare their love, kinship or affection for one another, and have their photos taken to commemorate the occasion.
"We have a a lot of support, both as a club in general and for this event specifically," Chen said. "I heard nothing but good feedback. And some people said it was their favorite event we've ever done. It was definitely a success in our eyes."
Responding to the parents' concerns, Chen said that the event wasn't about "stepping up on a soapbox and telling people what we believe. It was just about having fun and being inclusive."
According to Shannon Casey, the mother of two children who attend local schools, she was encouraged to hear about the event. As a lesbian, Casey said it is important that the community not only tolerate the LGBT community but celebrate it as well.
Being inclusive, she said, is even more important for younger people. Adolescence can be very hard on those who feel they don't belong with the in-crowd, she said. "Any time we speak out about our truth it supports those around us that don't feel so confident."
Chen said the mock wedding had such a high turnout, that she, in her role as fake marriage officiator, was not able to get to everyone who wanted to get fake married. More than 40 couples — both same sex and opposite sex — participated, and many more were unable to because of time constraints, she said. Plenty more watched the ceremonies in support.
Chen, who identifies as queer, was raised by a same sex couple. Chen said she "thinks it's pretty crazy" that people get so upset over the idea of same-sex marriage. "In the end, love is love. I don't see why there is so much resistance against marriage equality."