Sandusky, Ohio's Cedar Point had come up with a fun promotion to bring in their annual HalloWeekends celebration. Park officials would select 13 happy couples to get married on Sept. 13, which just happens to be Friday the 13.
The event promised to be the perfect mix of Halloween fun and roller coaster rides. What Halloween enthusiest wouldn't want their marriage to be officiated by a zombie and then begin their life together by hitting the coasters?
Eric Morrison and Scott Kenimond were especially excited because their love of roller coasters is what brought them togeher. The whole event just seemed perfect and the couple was set to submit their entry.
That is, until they realized that the contest was open to heterosexual couples only because the state of Ohio does not recognize same-sex marriage.
Kenimond says that the park should still allow committment ceremonies because they were allowing vowel renewals along with the wedding ceremonies. Vowel renewels aren't legally recognized ceremonies either "Vow renewals are not legal weddings so I don't understand why they were excluding commitment ceremonies," he said. "So we just set out to raise some awareness and maybe get them to open it up as opposed to keeping it shut."
Morrison also says that the policies just don't make sense: “You should be able to have a commitment ceremony. For God’s sakes, you’re getting married by a zombie.”
The couple began an internet campaign to urge the park to change the policy. They spread the word on Reddit, Twitter and various blogs.
The park however chose to simply cancel the contest instead of getting involved in the politics of gay marriage. In a statement on the parks blog, OnPoint, park officials made the following announcement:
"We’ve evaluated the 13 weddings promotion we recently announced and based on your feedback, we’ve decided that this isn’t the right time for the event.
However, on Friday the 13th, we do have a new haunted house for you to explore – and in the coming days, you’ll get a seriously sinister sneak peek. Stay tuned."
Bryan Edwards, spokesman for the park, had the following to say on behalf of Cedar Point: “When the promotion logistics started to take on political undertones, as indicated by several guests who gave us feedback, it was decided that now is not the best time for this event...Cedar Point does not take any official stance on political issues.”
Edwards also points out that the park does offer it's guest the opportunity to participate in committment ceremonies at the park, just not during this contest.
Morrison said he understood the parks decision from a business standpoint but he is still disapointed and feels the park made the "cowardly" choice by not standing behind the LGBT community.
There is a chance that a proposed constitutional amendment to legalize gay marriage is in the works for Ohio but it's not likely to be on the ballots this November.