U.S. Department of Labor Hosts Same-Sex Wedding Under the Stars

The Frances Perkins Building, where the U.S. Department of Labor is headquartered, has a new distinction:  It is apparently the first Cabinet-level federal building to host a wedding of a same-sex couple.

Paul Bedard, writing in the Washington Examiner, reported that the Labor Department’s rooftop deck at the base of Capitol Hill was the setting September 18 for a wedding between a regional solicitor and his longtime partner.  The reception which followed was held in a conference room in the federal offices.

A government official confirmed that the wedding occurred, but Labor Secretary Thomas Perez did not attend.

Bedard reported that the wedding marked the latest demonstration by the administration and prominent Washingtonians to endorse and support same sex marriage. Before the wedding at the Frances Perkins Building at the base of Capitol Hill, Perez ordered that legally married same-sex couples be offered the same federal rights as other married couples when it comes to pensions, 401(k)s, health plans and other employee benefits, even if they live in states that don’t recognize their union.

As for the American people, whose taxes pay for government buildings and officials’ salaries:  Tough rocks.  Displays of religious symbols (such as a crucifix) are regarded with suspicion; so the White House requested that Georgetown, a Catholic university, cover over the monogram “IHS”—symbolizing the name of Jesus Christ—when President Obama spoke at the university.  But as for secularist ceremonies celebrating same-sex “marriage”?  They will occur on public property whether you like it or not.

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  • moseynon

    Have federal buildings in DC been used for weddings before? I think it is important to know that to put this wedding into context. The Washington Examiner described it as “the first-ever same-sex marriage in a Cabinet-level headquarters building,” a phrase which seems to imply that other marriages have taken place before.

    As for the Georgetown incident, the White House did not request that the IHS monogram be covered up. What happened is that the White House issued some vague instructions concerning how it wanted the stage set, and Georgetown decided it would be “respectful” to cover up the IHS.

    “The White House wanted a simple backdrop of flags and pipe and drape for the speech, consistent with what they’ve done for other policy speeches,” [Julie Green Bataille, associate vice president for communications at Georgetown] added. “Frankly, the pipe and drape wasn’t high enough by itself to fully cover the IHS and cross above the GU seal and it seemed most respectful to have them covered so as not to be seen out of context.”

  • Dale’s thought was my thought. Why would any Department of any level of government host any wedding, gay or straight? What a waste of our tax dollars. The more you feed the beast of government, the more abuse.

    • moseynon

      I am not sure how much such weddings might cost the US government. The Washington Examiner article quotes an unnamed official as saying no federal funds were spent. Of course, there would be certain expenses related to use of the building: electricity after hours, perhaps cleaning up, perhaps extra insurance coverage etc. Some investigation would be necessary to dig up that information.

      • Good points. If it didn’t cost the government anything, I’m not complaining. The fact that it’s SSM is beside the point.