One Equal World

Same-Sex Marriage Proposal at Rio Olympics

Posted on: August 14, 2016

A computer generated image of two rainbow hearts with interlocking gold wedding bands in front.

Image: Shutterstock

Marjorie Enya, 28, is a volunteer manager at Deodoro Stadium, Rio’s Olympic Rugby stadium. It’s a temporary job, but she’s having the time of her life. Not because of the Olympics, but because of someone more special.

After the final match of women’s rugby sevens, in which Australia took the gold, before the other teams could leave the pitch, Enya walked out onto the field and asked Brazil player Isadora Cerullo to marry her. It was the first same-sex marriage proposal in the Olympics. And Cerullo, teary-eyed, said yes to applause from the stands.

Enya and Cerullo, who is twenty-five, have been together for two years, only a year less than Brazil has had legalized same-sex marriage. Same-sex civil unions have been legal since 2004, putting Catholic Brazil surprisingly ahead of the international progress curve.

Enya had planned her proposal carefully, but with pure confidence. Like anyone making a public proposal should, she already knew what the answer would be. Cerullo, who grew up in North Carolina and holds dual citizenship in Brazil and the United States, had already moved with Enya to São Paulo to focus on her Olympic try.

“As soon as I knew she was in the squad I thought I would have to make this special,” Enya said in an interview with BBC Sport. “I know rugby people are amazing and they would embrace it.”

Embrace it they did. In the video of her speech and proposal, which went viral the moment it aired, there were nothing but happy reactions, the two surrounded by cameras and teammates and cheers as they kissed.

The Rio Summer Olympics have over 40 out athletes across more than two dozen disciplines, a record number for the games and especially satisfying after the 2014 games in Sochi, Russia, where anti-LGBT laws interfered with some athletes competing.

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