Meet the same-sex couple who got married 14 times

Two years on from the same-sex marriage ruling, we look back at one couple whose wedding vows knew no bounds
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Elizabeth Stephens and Annie M. Sprinkle (pictured centre) The Love Art Laboratory (detail, Blue Wedding to the Sea – an Ecosexual Performance Art Wedding 2009), 2004 – 11 Action. As featured in Art and Queer Culture
Elizabeth Stephens and Annie M. Sprinkle (pictured centre) The Love Art Laboratory (detail, Blue Wedding to the Sea – an Ecosexual Performance Art Wedding 2009), 2004 – 11 Action. As featured in Art and Queer Culture

Two years ago today, on 26 June 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the fundamental right to marry is guaranteed to same-sex couples by the Constitution. Many loving couples had waited until that moment to arrange their dream wedding.

However, the US artists Beth Stephens and Annie M Sprinkle had already wed on numerous occasions, at a series of colour-themed ceremonies staged over the course of seven years. These unions might not have been wholly recognised by the US courts, yet the couple’s flamboyance and defiance certainly served as a fitting rejoinder to the prim objections many conservatives express towards gay weddings.

Here’s how Catherine Lord describes this pair and their seven-year-long nuptial protest in our book Art & Queer Culture.

 

Art & Queer Culture

“Beth Stephens and Annie M. Sprinkle describe themselves as ‘an artist couple committed to doing projects that explore, generate, and celebrate love. They use a wide range of media – including visual art, theatre, lectures, printed matter and activism. Stephens and Sprinkle initiated the project The Love Art Laboratory in 2004 in response to the beginning of the war in Iraq, as well as to the California Supreme Court’s prohibition of gay marriage in California.

They vowed to stage a commitment to their relationship each year for (at least) seven years as a way to ‘look hatred in the eye’, and to involve a queer community in an annual marriage ceremony. A changing roster of queer artists and sex activists officiates at each event.”

The couple drew their weddings to a close in 2011 after staging a total of 14 weddings, and they’re still together today. Talk about commitment. For more on the happy couple, and much else besides, get Art & Queer Culture here.


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