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Disney World: no wedding ceremonies for homos

The Mouse Kingdom has stepped in its own droppings this time.

Michael Jensen of AfterElton.com has a great investigative piece up at sister news site 365gay on some pretty rancid discriminatory goings-on at the Magic Kingdom — a place where a whole lot of gay dollars are dropped each year, and at “Gay Days” in particular.

According to Disney spokesperson Jason DiPietre gay and lesbian couples are not allowed to participate in Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings and Honeymoon packages, citing that a valid Florida marriage license is necessary.

This isn’t true, and Disney knows it — what it is offering is the ceremony, not a license, and the Mouse is busted:

When asked why Disney, a private corporation, insisted it needs a valid marriage license to offer wedding services, DiPietre responded that what “makes the marriage binding and recognized by the state [of Florida] is the license, so that is why we need the license.”

Florida state law, however, does not regulate to whom Disney may offer their wedding services; it only regulates which ceremonies the state recognizes as legal – a fact that we pointed out to DiPietre. He said in response: “What we offer our guests is the opportunity to get married through the state of Florida. A marriage is only recognized in the state [of Florida] with a marriage license.”

Though pressed further on the issue, DiPietre only stated: “The Walt Disney World Resort is open to everyone, every day. We extend our welcome to everyone and treat all of our guests with respect.”

…Among the several Florida-based wedding planners that we contacted, most were willing to offer their services to same-sex couples with the understanding that a wedding provided by them would not have any legal standing with the state of Florida. The Metropolitan Community Church’s Sunshine Cathedral in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., also indicated they would perform same-sex ceremonies, again with the understanding they would not be recognized by the state.

Even more damning for Disney, is that on the other side of the country, in Disneyland, the resort will perform same-sex commitment ceremonies. The problem in the Golden State location is that the Disneyland treats them like second-class citizens at full price — homos get shuttled off to a banquet hall or ballroom, not the Rose Court Garden where weddings with licenses are performed. Jensen reports that this refusal to allow gay and lesbian couples access to that facility may be a violation of a state civil rights law that prohibits discrimination based on marital status or sexual orientation. Ooops.

This all brings home the point that the country’s sad legal patchwork of civil unions, domestic partnerships and marriage is BS.  Look at Disney’s contorted response to the scenario of a legally married (in Massachusetts) gay couple that would like to take advantage of the company’s “vow renewal,” which IS allowed on the Florida property. This is insane.

When asked to explain the discrepancy between allowing “vow renewals” with a marriage license Florida doesn’t recognize, but not the actual wedding ceremony which has no legal standing, spokesperson DiPietre simply referred us to his last statement.

Interestingly enough, following the Vow Renewal link on Walt Disney World’s Fairy Tale Weddings and Honeymoons website leads to the same page as the regular Weddings link.

Why is Disney so determined to keep gay and lesbian couples seeking to wed away from their properties? One possible answer is a fear of controversy or a boycott by religious fundamentalists.

Well what do you know about that? Gee, why should they give a rip if Don Wildmon and the American Family Association fire up the Action Alert machine? They’ve failed miserably when it comes to punishing the Mouse.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding

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