Going beyond a Disney fairytale

Mermaids. Wizards. Talking animals.

Disneyland has always been a place where dreams, of any kind, can come true.

The theme park recently announced that it was opening its Fairy Tale Wedding program to all couples, regardless of their sexual orientation. Previously, any couple who wanted to pretend they were princes or princesses for a night had to present a valid marriage license, which left out any gay or lesbian couples.

The program, offered at Disneyland in California, Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and Disney’s cruise ships, gives couples the chance to act out their fairy tale fantasy. Whether a couple wants to exchange vows in front of a fiction-made-real castle or count a favorite childhood character among their guests, Disney can help make it happen.

Disney is made for fantasies. That’s the only downside to this new policy.

It’s just for fun.

Once the party ends, couples return to their daily lives where hospitals don’t recognize lifepartners as next of kin; where company health insurance refuses to cover one’s significant other; where the already difficult process of adopting a child is made even harder.

Gay and lesbian couples still can’t legally marry in the United States. At least Disney has the right idea. Call us crazy, but at a time when the world seems filled with so much hate, shouldn’t we celebrate love in any form?

Those at the top of the Disney corporation decided to make the change so all their guests can feel “welcome and respected.”

Too bad they can’t feel that way in their own country: a country that prides itself on personal freedoms, on being a melting pot of diversity, on acceptance. The United States has never lived up to the promises it makes to its people.

Our childhood experiences shape our adult perceptions. What better place for acceptance of all people to begin than Disney?

The multimedia giant has a lot of power and responsibility. Ask any little kid his or her favorite movie — chances are Disney’s tag is attached to it. Ask the girl sitting next to you in class to name five Disney princesses; we doubt she’ll have any trouble. Ask the man on the bus who Mickey Mouse’s best friend is.

Walt Disney is deeply ingrained in American culture.

Most of Disney’s characters, barring talking bears and clothed mice, have fallen under society’s majorities: white and heterosexual. But they’ve made progress. Little girls gained stronger role models in headstrong characters such as Mulan. The company announced that this summer’s movie will feature its first black princess.

Maybe the days when the handsome, brave prince falls in love with another prince aren’t that far away.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the editorial board of the Daily Kent Stater.