Ohio Amusement Park Cancels Wedding Contest To Avoid Including Gay Couples

SRPCPGAYWEDDING2With its 16 different roller coasters, Cedar Point of Sandusky, Ohio, is a Mecca for thrill ride enthusiasts throughout North America and the world. Unfortunately, the park is receiving a bit of bad press as of late, after canceling a contest in which it would allow 13 couples to get married on park grounds to mark the beginning of their HalloWeekends festival so they could avoid including gay couples in it.

Ohio is one of the many states in the country that does not currently allow marriage equality. That didn't deter Scott Kenimond and Eric Morrison of Akron when they saw the contest online. According to the Sandusky Register, the two are roller coaster enthusiasts, which was one of the things they bonded over when they first met. “It was one of the things that made me message him. First I thought, ‘He looks cute,’” Morrison said. "My username was WickedTwister. He knew right away I was a fan." The two have already been engaged for months. Thus, when they found Cedar Point's contest online, it seemed a bit like providence. “[Scott] was elated. He was beside himself so happy,” said Morrison. Then they read the fine print: "Due to marriage laws in Ohio, weddings are limited to male-female couples only."

SRPCPGAYWEDDINGThis obviously didn't sit well with Kenimond and Morrison, who then took to Twitter and Reddit to gather support. For one thing, the contest ad offered it as a chance for already-married couples to renew their vows. “It doesn’t matter if it’s legal or not,” Morrison said. “You should be able to have a commitment ceremony. For God’s sakes, you’re getting married by a zombie.”

Nevertheless, officials at Cedar Point decided to cancel the contest shortly thereafter, issuing a statement that read: 

“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.” 

The couple was already considering a commitment ceremony in Cedar Point anyway, to which the park announced in its statement that “we encourage guests to contact us if they’re interested in planning such an event.” Nevertheless, the couple was still looking forward to have the chance to have expenses and organization taken care of by the park. That said, Morrison, who works in marketing, understands the park's decision. 

“For them, this was not a political commotion. It was simply to drum up interest for HalloWeekends and they had a stance where they chose not to choose a stance…I’m disappointed they would choose to go that way rather than stand behind their LGBT community. Ultimately, they’re playing it safe. But it’s a cowardly choice.”


  1. northalabama says

    i’m still waiting to wake up one morning, turn on nbc, and find “today throws a gay wedding”. until then, i’m not holding my breath for anyone else.

  2. DavidR says

    Stoopid. I love how some straight people are so clueless that in this day and age of near-constant “gay marriage” in the news, they didn’t think of this “problem” earlier.

  3. pc says

    safe and cowardly, yes, but better than hosting the event and excluding gay couples. worked at cedar point one summer in college and 50% or more of the employees are gay. it was one big, gay party (ah, to be 20 again…..)

  4. FernLaPlante says

    Did they cancel it because they didn’t want to include same-sex couples or did they cancel the event because it wasn’t fair to same-sex couples?

  5. Hey Darlin' says

    It sounds like if they didn’t want to hold a divisive event, they shouldn’t have framed it as a divisive event with the fine print.

    As an aside, Since when are human rights (rights which we buy with our tax dollars by the way) “political events”? This is the same frame the International Olympic Committee is trying to put around their disdain for human life. Is this new term supposed to replace human rights? I don’t think it’s working, people still see the truth.

  6. says

    As a former Cedar Point employee, I can confirm that the owners of the park are big time christianist douchebags. However, they have always been careful to act in fairness and avoid controversy. My partner pointed out this contest to me a few weeks ago, and my first thought was “They will never allow a gay couple to win” so this is no surprise really.

  7. Bollux says

    I agree. This more about fairness and not having to exclude gays. Almost all Cedar Fair parks host a gay day. They are very welcoming to all manner of paying customers.

  8. lee says

    Interesting that they didn’t seem to mind doing re-commitment ceremonies, which have no legally binding results, but they would pre-plan to exclude gay couples. Clearly they didn’t cancel out of respect for gay couples, but to avoid the controversy. Cowards.

  9. Nelson says

    LUMINUM – no, it’s King’s Island north of Cincy that has a Gay Days event. Cedar Point, in more uptight NW Ohio, does not have a very welcoming attitude in general.

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