Dayton mayor to perform gay ‘marriage’ ceremony for Pride

RuPaul Drag Race stars Bianca Del Rio and Courtney Act to appear locally.

Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley will be grand marshal of the Dayton Pride parade Saturday, June 7, before officiating a symbolic same-sex marriage ceremony for six couples as part of the annual Pride festival on Courthouse Square in downtown Dayton.

“It will be a commitment ceremony,” Whaley said. “I wish it could be a marriage ceremony.”

This is the second year a mass ceremony will be part of the festival organized by the Greater Dayton LGBT Center.

Randy Phillips, the center’s president, said 50 couples participated in the first ceremony last year.

“We will do it each year until marriage equality is legal in the state of Ohio,” Phillips said.

Dayton has a domestic partner registry, and Whaley said it will soon offer same-sex couples commitment ceremonies similar to the legally recognized weddings offered to heterosexual couples.

“For us in the city, we are proud of our record of being open to everyone and promoting equality,” she said.

Parade lines begin at 11 a.m. at the corners of Second and St. Clair streets.

It follows a 9 to 11 a.m. breakfast at MJ’s Cafe, 119 E. 3rd St. in Dayton. A $5 donation is requested. There will be entertainment at Courthouse Square until 5:30 p.m.

The Dayton Gay Men’s Chorus will present “I Am Harvey Milk” at 8 p.m. at the Victoria Theatre, 126 N. Main St. Admission is $20.

Other activities include the Pride Gayla at Sinclair Community College Friday night. Tickets are no longer available for the party themed “Peace Love and Pride.”

MJ’s Cafe and nearby Club Masque, 34 Jefferson St., are among the bars that will have events for Dayton Pride. Masque’s entertainment is highlighted by a Thursday performance by comedian Bianca Del Rio, the winner of this season of Logo TV’s popular “RuPaul Drag Race.”

Del Rio’s co-star Courtney Act will appear at the club Friday and April Carrion, Gia Gunn and Kelly Mantle will appear Saturday. Shows start at 10 p.m. and admission for each is $20.

The Peace, Love and Pride Brunch is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday at Wheat Penny restaurant, 515 Wayne Ave. in Dayton. Call (937) 496-5268 for reservations.

Phillips said Pride celebrations began to remember the historic 1969 Stonewall gay rights riots in New York and individual rights.

“Gay people come from all walks of life, economic groups and professions from doctors and lawyers to the janitors,” he said.

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