New York couples attend mass celebration after pandemic-hit wedding

Nearly 500 couples celebrated their union under blue skies on Sunday in New York. event aimed at healing the wounds of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Wreaths on their heads, couples, many of whom are already married, walked in procession before the symbolic ceremony of the imam, rabbi and pastor.

Some were barely holding back tears.

“We were supposed to get engaged on March 24, 2020 in Hawaii, but obviously the pandemic has canceled everything,” Erica Hackman told AFP, holding the hand of her husband Richard in a festive atmosphere at Damrosch Park.

The couple, who are expecting a baby, got married the following year on a rooftop in the presence of only their immediate family.

“Everyone was wearing masks,” recalls Erica, 35.

“It was a very small wedding … so now it seems very important to come and celebrate with other people who have been through the same thing,” said 37-year-old Richard.

– “Just a holiday of love” –

Pandemic-hit New York froze in 2020, and images of deserted Times Square and makeshift morgues have become symbols of the crisis.

The event, hosted by Lincoln Center – the famed arts complex on Manhattan’s Upper West Side – was billed as a celebration for couples whose weddings were cancelled.

But everyone was happy.

Some, like Esther Friesner Stutzman and her husband Walter Stutzman, have been married for decades.

“He promised me a trip to Paris,” she said, smiling.

The wonderful Lloyd-Kline, who married Anisa in 2008 in Toronto, Canada, was happy to “have a day dedicated to love.

“We’re a same-sex couple, it’s really important for us to go out, celebrate and show ourselves here to the public as much as we can,” the 56-year-old said before turning to the U.S. Supreme Court, which some fear would undermine marriage equality following a recent ruling. abolish abortion rights.

Anne-Marie Colon, 59, walked among couples with a photo of her fiancé, Louis Steven, a professor from the Bronx area who died of Covid in April 2020.

The week he passed away, we were supposed to get married in Aruba. And so I thought that today’s visit would be a good celebration of the life that we lived together for 11 years, ”she said.