A group of Seattle area activists just received a marriage license approving the marriage of Angela Vogel and a corporation called “Corporate Person”.
Jeff Reifman, the registered agent of Corporate Person spoke to me via phone moments after receiving the wedding certificate.
“I was really thrilled and the ceremony was wonderful,” reported Reifman. “It was a little difficult to get them to do it, but they took my money and they provided a marriage license. We talked to them about the Supreme Court offering corporate personhood.”
Til death do her part.
“The Supreme Court has said that corporations are persons with equal protections under the 14th amendment, which means they have all the same rights as you or me (unless you happen to be gay or lesbian). So a corporation has just as much right to marry a woman that I have to marry a woman.”
Reifman, who is collecting signatures to put a Seattle-area initiative 103 up for a public vote, created a corporation called Corporate Person in order to illustrate the inanity of treating corporations like people. Initiative 103 would eliminate corporate personhood in the City of Seattle only.
“If they were to reject the license, they would be facing a lawsuit from Corporate Person, and the city shouldn’t waste money defending yet another lawsuit,” said Reifman.
The City of Seattle is currently being sued by phone book companies claiming opt-out legislation restricts their access to free speech.
The marriage has especially relevant historical significance. In 1971 John Singer and Paul Barwick, two gay activists, marched up to city hall and asked for a marriage license. Lloyd Hara, then acting as the county auditor, refused. This kicked off Singer vs. Hara, one of the first gay marriage lawsuits in the nation. The Washington State Court of Appeals denied the men’s right to marry in 1974.
Angela Vogel, the bride in today’s wedding, would still be denied a marriage license with another woman today. Corporate Person is apparently male.
“Everyone else in the world should do the same thing,” said Vogel. “To draw attention to all the rights that will be afforded under the law.”
“I really want to explore all of the rights that this corporate person should be afforded in addition to marriage. Voting rights, the right to serve in the military.”
As to what’s next?
“We have a license to marry, we’re not married yet,” elaborated Reifman. “We have a license to proceed. It’s basically a done deal. Under the law we have the right to do this.”
“That’s the stupid thing about corporate personhood.”
This blog post was written by Devin Glaser, longtime friend and volunteer of the Bus.