On July 18th, 2012, surrounded by 40 friends and supporters, Angelia Vogel married Mr. Corporate Person in downtown Seattle. She listed "Corporate Person" as her groom when she filed her marriage certificate. See the certificate from The Stranger.
Vogel, a local activist, used the small ceremony to support Initiative 103, legislation that would deny corporations personhood. Essentially, she is protesting the notion that "corporations are people".
Vogel isn't the first Seattle resident to symbolically wed an inanimate object in protest. Babylonia Aivaz married a historic warehouse — it was later demolished — and is now engaged to a neighbourhood. Aivaz was protesting gentrification and pulled off her stunt in a bid to save heritage buildings.
Watch Vogel's ceremony below.
Pastor Rich Lang wishes the couple well at the ceremony's conclusion.
"Corporate Person and Angela, may your children become sacrifices in war for greater market gain, may your wealth be without end, may your desire for more always be insatiable"
He continutes: "May you begin every day in expectation of profit, and end every night resting secure in each other's bank accounts. May your continuous lies never be revealed, may your lawlessness never be held accountable, may your theft be forgiven, and may you own this nation lock, stock and barrel until freedom is no more."
"The purpose of the wedding is to highlight the insidious concept of corporate personhood — and its damaging impact on our community and the autonomy of our city council's legislative powers," a press release of the event explains.
Jeff Reifman, a Seattle-based technologist and writer, is listed as Mr. Corporate Person's registered agent. Yes, the groom is a registered corporation.
"The Supreme Court has said that corporations are persons with equal protections under the Fourteenth 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 tells Washington Bus.
The next day, the city voided the marriage, claiming that issuing the license to marry Mr. Corporate Person was "just an error" and noting that the groom in question was incapable of consent. The county returned Vogel's $64 application fee.
"King County said that we couldn't be married because Corporate Person isn't old enough to be married," a joking Vogel tells KPLU News, referring to the fact that Mr. Corporate Person was established as a corporation only a month and a half prior to the ceremony.