Gay marriage activists – gay, straight, in plain dress, and in wedding drag – pulled off a trio of demonstrations Monday afternoon. Beginning in Grand Central station, the group Drag Queen Weddings held mock nuptials. Two couples and an officiate, all in high wedding dress, descended from the stairs by Michael Jordan’s Steak House and proceeded to have a ceremony right in the main hall. The NYPD scuttled them before the rice could be thrown or even the vows could fully be exchanged.
Meanwhile, another activist – unseen by the Voice or apparently by the NYPD – released a banner attached to multiple balloons, demanding marriage equality. The banner wasn’t very big, so by the time it reached Grand Central’s enormous ceiling, it wasn’t clearly legible. The banner sits as a blot in Grand Central’s starry ceiling and will stay there until the helium gives out, at which point it will deliver its message a second time, descending upon the heads of some unsuspecting commuters.
Then, Jake Goodman of Queer Rising led a small parade of marchers out of Grand Central and on to 42nd Street, towards Governor Cuomo’s midtown office. The group was chanting “I am somebody, and I deserve full equality” as they marched, and got some rather surprised looks from people not expecting to encounter a militant drag wedding party on their way home from work.
By the time they arrived at the corner of Third Avenue and 41st Street, another group of Queer Rising activists had already unfurled an enormous white banner demanding marriage equality across the avenue. Traffic had already come to a stop and, unlike when the group did this on Sixth Avenue during morning rush hour last month, these commuters were less than patient. Cars were honking furiously, and their drivers did not appear amused to be inconvenienced.
Also unlike last month, the NYPD seemed a little unprepared. Though they were out in full force in Grand Central, they were not ready in front of Cuomo’s office, and the events there seemed to take them by surprise. It took about ten minutes for officers to arrive and make arrests, and traffic was held up on Third Avenue that whole time.
Five protestors — Natasha Dillon, Kevin Donohue, Melissa Kleckner, Robert Moore, and Ali Lozano — were arrested. The arrest of Lozano – the last to occur – was the most prolonged and the loudest. According to Queer Rising’s twitter feed, the five were taken to the Midtown South Precinct.