No, I wasn’t in New York last Sunday marrying Rachel Rawlings, the woman who has put up with me for 14 years now. Not that we hadn’t been hoping for it for a long time, or that we didn’t tear up when we saw the photo of Cheryle Rudd and Kitty Lambert and Niagara Falls lit up in rainbow colors. I do kinda wish I’d gone there to bear witness, 10 years after Rachel and I got our domestic-partners certificate in Manhattan.
By the time of the latter in 2000, itself a sequel to the one we’d secured in San Francisco a year after we met, we’d already enacted the “in sickness and in health” part of the vows, at each other’s side during hospitalizations, and were about to dance together at my brother’s wedding. In 2004, during what I called “gay marriage fever season,” we jumped at the chance to try for a marriage license in Nyack, N.Y., joining one of a near-dozen lawsuits charging that the ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. But that suit, like the others, failed before the state’s highest court in 2006, the justices practically begging the Legislature to clarify the law.
But that didn’t appear imminent when we moved to Pennsylvania two years later; we finally tied the knot last year in a small Canadian town just over the Maine border. (We even made the papers — not so much for being a same-sex-marriage but for being the first to marry at New Brunswick’s Chocolate Museum.) Our parents made the trip and our brothers were the official witnesses, something that I’d never have dreamed possible when we met in the 1990s.
Still, as the momentum gathered this year in New York State, we couldn’t help feeling that it was our journey, too. On the day same-sex marriage was voted in, I choked up watching Sen. Tom Duane, whom I’d covered often as a reporter, speaking about his partner, Lewis Webre, and the bill he’d championed for nearly a decade. And Sunday I loved learning about it on Twitter, as @CityHallNews told me that “NY County judges prepping to marry ssm couples, affixing brooches to their robes. A reported shortage of inkpads to stamp certificates.” Or from @steven_thrasher: NY #SSM – that “judges don’t say ‘I now pronounce you wife & wife,’ but ‘I now pronounce you married.’ Has a dignity to it.” Absolutely. Over all, 659 couples wed on the historic day.
Rache and I will likely renew our vows in New York, maybe even on our first wedding anniversary. In the meantime, here are some moments many of us will think of as our wedding album:
Please send any photos you have to supplement these, especially if you were there. We’ll be happy to add them to our gallery. And I’m still so proud of the city where I was born, for helping lead the country into the 21st century.