A gay couple from Ohio was chosen to hold their wedding in New York City comic book store Midtown Comics on Wednesday in honor of the release of the controversial "Astonishing X-Men No. 51," which features the first ever superhero gay wedding from publisher Marvel.
The event involved Scott Everhart, 39, and Jason Welker, 33, who were selected from more than 50 applicants by the store to mark the ceremony with the June 20 release of the Marvel comic book, according to The New York Times.
"They really stood out as super-fans," explained Thor Parker, the social media and events director at Midtown Comics.
Everhart and Welker, who met at a comic book event, live in Ohio, where same-sex marriage is illegal. Evenhart, a site manager at an adult day care center, said that he entered Welker and himself into the competition by Midtown Comics. "I didn't say anything to Jason until they notified me and said they were interested and going to interview us," he said. "That's when I broke the news to him and kind of proposed at the same time."
"It's a huge step for us as a couple, but also for us in the community," explained Welker, who works as an architect.
The Marvel characters getting married in "Astonishing X-Men #51" are Northstar, a Canadian superhero associated with Alpha Flight and the X-Men and his longtime human partner Kyle. Marvel creators revealed Northstar as gay back in 1992,
"When gay marriage became legal in New York State, it raised obvious questions since most of our heroes reside in New York State," explained Marvel Comics editor-in-chief Axel Alonso in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, noting that the decision would cause some controversy.
Some pro-family groups who support the traditional definition of marriage as between one man and one woman, have warned that such acceptance of homosexuality, especially in such a medium, may negatively influence a child's view of the world.
"Children desire to be just like superheroes. Children mimic superhero actions and even dress up in costumes to resemble these characters as much as possible. Can you imagine little boys saying, 'I want a boyfriend or husband like X-Men?,'" said One Million Moms, a project of the American Family Association, in a statement.
"This is ridiculous! Why do adult gay men need comic superheroes as role models? They don't but do want to indoctrinate impressionable young minds by placing these gay characters on pedestals in a positive light. These companies are heavily influencing our youth by using children's superheroes to desensitize and brainwash them in thinking that a gay lifestyle choice is normal and desirable. As Christians, we know that homosexuality is a sin (Romans 1:26-27)," the statement added.
Characters within the X-Men world have also apparently shared their disagreement with same-sex marriage.
"I do not recognize the validity of the ceremony vows," says one character who decides not to attend the wedding.
"I'm a progressive guy, but it's a lot to take in, huh?" remarks another, while another adds: "I'm happy for Northstar and Kyle, but I can't stop thinking about what my grandma would say about all this."
Gerry Gladston, one of the owners of Midtown Comics, shared that the store did indeed receive some negative responses from people when they announced they were searching for homosexual couples wishing to marry.
"We're proud to take this opportunity to promote equality and tolerance, which is the message of the X-Men themselves," he said, noting that most of the responses the store received were positive.
A short video of the ceremony between Everhart and Welker was published by the Globe and Mail.