In the afterglow of the passage of New York's Marriage Equality Act, the pastor of Trinity Lower East Side Church (which is actually at 9th Street and Avenue B in the East Village, on the east side of Tompkins Square Park) has pledged to perform gay weddings for free for the first year of their inception, beginning on the first day they're legally performed on July 24, 2011. Trinity's Pastor Phil Trzynka is himself gay, having entered into a holy union with his longtime partner in 2006, with whom he adopted a son in 2009.
Trinity is an ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) congregation with very diverse members, including many LGBT people. Last October, the church shot a short video to become part of the famous "It Gets Better" campaign (view the video here).
Trzynka told the Village Voice that he decided to offer the year of free gay weddings after watching deliberations by the New York State Senate on the Marriage Equality Act, during which many legislators demanded -- and received -- an amendment that allows religious organizations to be exempt from the bill, and prevents them from being sued should they refuse to perform gay marriages. "The church was trying to carve out its right to be able to discriminate," said Trzynka. He wanted to offer an alternative stance, and to encourage LGBT unions.
Weddings at Trinity Lower East Side, which usually cost $500, will be free for gay couples until June 2012. As with any couple getting married at Trinity, pre-marriage counseling will be required to make sure that the decision to marry hasn't been taken lightly.
Trinity Lower East Side is located at 602 East 9th Street, at the corner of Avenue B. The phone number is 212-228-5254.