Mocking Marriage, Seattle-Style


The news reporters have been a-flurry because this week, Seattle resident Angela Vogel married a “Corporate Person.” 

The groom, “Corporate Person,” is not actually a real guy.  Mr. Corporate Person is a one-and-a-half-month-old corporation established by Seattle-based writer  Jeff Reifman, who is listed as the corporation’s registered agent.

And the bride—Well, she’s not really in love.  She’s really protesting a law that grants personhood status to corporations.  Jeff Reifman explains:

“The Supreme Court has said that corporations are persons with equal protections under the Fourteenth Amendment, which means they have all the same rights as you or me (unless you happen to be gay or lesbian).So a corporation has just as much right to marry a woman that I have to marry a woman.”

And the minister—Well at least Rev. Rich Lang, who presided over the ceremony, is, in fact, ordained in the United Methodist Church.  But then, he’s also an activist and a writer whose bi-weekly column appears in Real Change, and who has been published in the Progressive Christian and other sources.

Reverend Lang—who unabashedly mocks the institution of marriage—must, nonetheless, be a romantic at heart.  He welcomed the opportunity to officiate at the wedding of this unseemly couple.  Noting that Mr. Corporate Person had profit as his prime motivator, Lang offered a unique wish for the couple:

“Corporate Person and Angela, may your children become sacrifices in war for greater market gain, may your wealth be without end, may your desire for more always be insatiable.  May you begin every day in expectation of profit, and end every night resting secure in each other’s bank accounts.  May your continuous lies never be revealed, may your lawlessness never be held accountable, may your theft be forgiven, and may you own this nation lock, stock and barrel until freedom is no more.”

You know, for Washingtonians the whole thing must seem de rigueur

In January 2011, Sarah “echo” Steiner, a 39-year-old Green Party activist from Lake Worth, Florida, sought to become the first woman to marry a corporation.   She held a press conference to explain her plan, and to discuss her hopes and dreams for finding “Mr. Right.”


Steiner’s  ideal husband, er, corporation will not be easy to find.  She wants her corporation/spouse to be exhorbitantly wealthy.  “Of course,” she added, “I’m looking for someone well endowed, and with staying power.”

And in January 2012, Seattle resident Babylonia Aivaz “married” an abandoned warehouse in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood.  I told the story then.

By the way, now that Aivaz is a widow (since her beloved warehouse has been torn down by the city), she has informed the Seattle City Council that she will be marrying the entire Yesler Terrace neighborhood, near the city’s Central District. 

And in May of this year, 36-year-old Nadien Schweigert of North Dakota “married herself” in a commitment ceremony in the presence of her family and friends.  Schweigert, who was celebrating “how far she’d come” since a painful divorce six years earlier, encouraged her guests to “blow kisses to the world” after she’d exchanged rings with her “inner groom.”

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All of these contorted pairings serve to draw laughs and remind people that marriage—real marriage, that is—is Something.  It is the union of one man and one woman.  The homosexual activists who attempt to marry one another, the lesbians who pair up and set up housekeeping, the woman who married herself:  All try in vain to redefine marriage until it has no meaning at all. 

They will not succeed. 

  • Maggie Goff

    You’re darn tootin’ they won’t. Plus I sure hope that Lang fellow doesn’t have a congregation somewhere.

  • James Healey

    The real issue being made is the dilution of the term “person”. Obviously, a person has the right to marry and have children. A corporation does not possess such rights because it is unable to do so.

    I think it’s silly to pick bad examples intended as satire to argue against same-sex “marriage”.

  • Mike Mongo

    Actually, your conclusion was senseless. This was not about mocking marriage, it was about mocking that the 2008 Supreme Court decision which granted corporations rights equal to and greater than ordinary American citizens.

    From the Wikipedia entry on corporate personhood:
    “The basis for allowing corporations to assert protection under the U.S. Constitution is that they are organizations of people, and that people should not be deprived of their constitutional rights when they act collectively. In this view, treating corporations as “persons” is a convenient legal fiction that allows corporations to sue and to be sued, provides a single entity for easier taxation and regulation, simplifies complex transactions that would otherwise involve, in the case of large corporations, thousands of people, and that protects the individual rights of the shareholders as well as the right of association.”

    In other words, the idea is that corporations are people. This has nothing to do with your feelings about gay people and same-sex marriage.

    Clearly you have an ax to grind, which is fine, it’s just that it would be a great deal more advantageous to the democratic process if you aimed that ax in the direction of the topic rather than your own: Regardless of Supreme Court rulings, corporations are not people. If this was about marriage equality, she would have married a female corporate personhood.

    Other than that, you are a fine writer.