Update: Check out our review of the wedding ceremony.
The Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau is hosting a sunrise beach wedding and vow renewal ceremony for 100 LGBT and straight couples on Thursday, February 5, and former N'Sync pop artist Lance Bass will serve as the event's ambassador.
The event, dubbed "Love Is Love," was set up as a commemoration of the historic January 6 Florida marriage equality ruling and will be making television history when Bass and partner Michael Turchin's wedding is broadcast in the E! network special Lance Loves Michael: The Lance Bass Wedding. Lance and Michael were married in December.
"Lance shares the same pioneering spirit of advocating for LGBT equality that we embody here in Greater Fort Lauderdale," Nicki E. Grossman, president and CEO of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau, says via a news release. "We're thrilled to have him be part of our historic moment on the same day he shares his own personal wedding with the world."
The mass wedding itself will begin at 7 a.m. The ceremonies will be presided over by the Sunshine Cathedral's senior minister, the Rev. Dr. Durrell Watkins. There will be a post-wedding champagne toast and reception at the W Fort Lauderdale.
Bass' role as ambassador will be to welcome the couples on the beach and share his own thoughts on the significance of marriage quality and what the event means to him.
In all, couples representing 18 states as well as couples from South America, Italy, and London will be getting married or having their vows renewed at the sunrise ceremony.
Since at least 2013, Fort Lauderdale has been the city with the greatest concentration of same-sex couples. And the city's commissioners have been ahead of the curve when it comes to same-sex marriage rights. In 2013, a Fort Lauderdale man became the first same-sex-marriage green card recipient in the U.S.
And the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau itself has long been anticipating same-sex marriages in the city with ads and commercials.
Then, in December, the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta turned down a request by Florida's secretaries of health and management services and the clerk of the court to extend a stay of the state's gay-marriage ban. A federal judge ruled in August that Florida's same-sex marriage ban was unconstitutional but stayed his decision until January 5. The stay ended on January 6, making same-sex marriage legal in Florida.