The following is an email I wrote to announce our San Francisco wedding. By this time, Kristin and I had had our falling-out with the woman who officiated our commitment ceremony. Plus we had begun the active planning stage of TTC and it was important to us that we do whatever we could to make certain that everyone understood that we are a family. We had hoped that our San Francisco marriage would stay valid, even if only in California, as a legal representation of the bond we feel and the family we created.
Dear Family and Friends:
Apologies for the mass email, but we wanted to let all of you know as soon as possible that we were legally married Saturday, February 14th, in the First Unitarian Universalist Church of San Francisco. We apologize for not inviting everyone, and we wish all of you could have been there.
As you probably already know, on Thursday February 12th the Mayor of San Francisco, in an act of civil disobedience, began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Kristin heard the news first, and in a somewhat uncharacteristic act of spontaneity called Trista with a very romantic proposal that went something like, "Hey, do you have your heart set on remodeling the bathroom this weekend, or would you like to go to San Francisco and get legally married?" Within the hour, we had a hotel reservation, a house sitter (thank you Kim!) and an excited Minister willing to perform the ceremony.
At 9:30 Thursday night we left for San Francisco in our car. We pulled up to City Hall at 7:30 A.M. and were only the 73rd couple in line. It took 3 + hours of waiting, but we were finally issued our license. During our wait we were able to reflect on the meaning of family, while we were surrounded by such a diverse group of people. There were both old and young couples and couples of nearly every race. It was wonderful to see gay men holding babies in snugglies, lesbians with strollers, and both toddlers and teenagers standing in line with their parents. As each couple came out of the clerk's office with their license, the whole line clapped and cheered. The love and high spirits were infectious. Even the lone straight couple standing in line behind us was happy and excited to be part of such a monumental event.
Rather than have our ceremony at City Hall under the rotunda, with all the cameras and spectators, we chose to have a private and more formal church ceremony on Saturday. Kristin's sister, Kathy, and her kids flew in from Houston, and Trista's boss, Helen, was also in town. Minister John Marsh administered an absolutely beautiful service (see attachment if you are interested). Vows, rings*, and roses were exchanged, Minister Marsh and our witnesses signed the license, and we were officially married!
The next day we attended services at the church, and found out that we were the first** same-sex couple in the country to be legally married in a U.S. Unitarian Universalist Church. We were called to the front of the church with two other same-sex couples that had been married over the weekend, and our marriages were announced to the congregation. We then received a standing ovation. To look out over an entire church filled with people applauding our marriage was an amazing thing. We stood there in front of hundreds of strangers feeling our love celebrated. At that moment we felt so accepted and loved that we cried.
We had thought that being legally married would not change anything. We have been living together for over three years, and had a commitment ceremony a year and a half ago. At first we viewed receiving a marriage certificate from the government only as a simple political action. However, after our marriage, we do feel different. No longer when someone asks, "Are you married?" will we have to say, "Ummm, not exactly." From our experience over the weekend, we take away with us a feeling of acceptance and legitimacy. And, although our marriage will likely not be recognized anywhere other than a handful of places, feelings of love and acceptance will remain with us, along with hope that sometime in the near future all couples will be granted equal rights.
If anyone is interested in learning more about same-sex marriage, the following sites are informative: www.aclu.com and www.freedomtomarry.org
Also, the Freedom to Marry site has links to sign an online marriage resolution (which takes less than a minute) and to contact your legislators. Also, www.workingforchange.com is an easy site to use to contact your legislators.
Kristin and Trista
* We had only ever thought of the rings we bought for our commitment ceremony as temporary. With the way we felt about our commitment ceremony after our friend started drinking again, we were more determined than ever to replace the rings. While we were in Hawaii the November before this wedding we discovered a jewelry designer that we both loved. We decided that with our tax returns we would buy our wedding rings from him. Because we eloped again, our rings weren't there for the service, but they arrived shortly after. This is Kristin's ringonly hers is in white gold. The eyes are Tzavarites (just like in the picture.) And here is my ring.
only I had them make my ring in white gold with a yellow gold shell and a tzavarite in the shell instead of the diamond. They'd never made a ring to those specifications before, so as far as I know, I'm the only one with my exact ring.
** We found out that we were the first couple by accident. That morning we took some pictures of the church right before we entered to attend the service. When we entered the church an ecstatic gay man in a tuxedo approached us. "I noticed you taking pictures of the church, I just thought you would like to know that shortly before you took those pictures this church held the very first legal gay marriage in a Unitarian Church in the United States!" I, in a sudden panic that something had happened overnight to invalidate my own marriage blurted out, "But, but we were married here yesterday!" "You were?" the man's face, fell. I nodded emphatically. Just at that moment a woman who had been standing to the side of us jumped in: "That's ok, you were the first lesbian couple, and you were the first gay couple. That way you're both first!" Which was nice of her, but that's not why I had been upset. Oh well, if I had known that his statement was a product of his not knowing about our marriage rather than a sign that something terrible had happened to mine overnight, I wouldn't have said a thing. I don't like to piss in a person's cheerios, and he had been so happy at the thought of being first. The sad thing is that he and his husband were actual members of the congregation there, unlike we who were just visitors come in to steal his thunder.
And there you have it, the story of our two weddings. I'm sure that's not the end of it, though, since we're still not married. Third time's the charm...