Today marks David’s and my 5th wedding anniversary. That makes this our official anniversary in the eyes of justice — but our real anniversary was June 29th at which point we celebrated 28 years together. The law was slow to catch up.
This being our Official Legal Day, however, I wish my David…
…with love and gratitude for all these 28 years. It’s been a wonderful journey. And we’re not done yet.
We met in the late 80s through an interesting overlap of personal and professional. We worked in non-profit community development at separate agencies, and also together in the Cleveland Neighborhood Development Corporation. In my free time I was doing a weekly gay radio show, GayWaves, on WRUW-FM. David volunteered with the Health Issues Taskforce assisting people with AIDS. In 1989 we teamed up with others to organize Pride ’89 which launched Cleveland’s annual gay pride celebrations every summer since.
During our first several years as a couple we lived separately in our own apartments — a rarity in the gay world. In 1995 we finally moved in together, buying a magnificent 3-story Queen Anne Victorian house. It was built in 1894 if memory serves, one of the first houses on the street.
David created the cleverest card to send family and friends announcing our new address. In a stylish font it read that we had been “joined in Holy Real Estate.” That’ll do it!
The house came fully rehabbed, having been renovated by friends with loving care and attention to detail. We lived there 17 years and loved it! The house was literally our palace. It featured a cantilevered turret suspended off the third floor, the only one of it’s kind Cleveland, I believe. We’d sit up there on Sunday mornings with coffee and the paper, keeping an eye on the neighborhood below.
Eventually it became more than we could handle. Even renovated, big old houses need lots of maintenance and upkeep! Despite our urban values and professions, we’ve now moved to the quiet burbs and are very happy.
Sunday, October 5, 2014
I proposed to David on Valentines Day 2014. I didn’t know his ring size and and couldn’t think of any nonchalant way to ask, so I found us giant “diamond” napkin rings to serve as substitutes. He accepted, of course. Whew! Then we had to decide when and where.
Same-sex marriage wasn’t legal in either Indiana where he’s from or Ohio where we live, so we opted for one of our favorite places on Earth: Central Park in New York City. Being so far from both our families we elected to basically elope. Assembling everyone in New York would have been an expensive and monumental production. And we didn’t want to play favorites inviting some but not others, so we kept it secret.
So, no family — but we were joined throughout the weekend by dear friends Bob Downing and Chris Aubanel who live there in New York City. Bob helped us navigate the subway on Friday to get our license at the Office of City Clerk. He and Chris were also Best Men and witnesses at the wedding, and gracious hosts for dinner. They made the weekend. We love them!
The wedding itself was organized by Ultimate USA Weddings which we selected after a careful search. We couldn’t have made a better choice. The owner at that time, Gino Filippone, officiated the ceremony. He also arranged limousines, helped us select a spot in Central Park by Gapstow Bridge for the ceremony, arranged lunch afterward at Robert (great restaurant name!) at Columbus Circle, and our horse-drawn carriage ride to get there. Top this all off with the great weather and it was truly a dream wedding!
I couldn’t see them from my angle, but during our ceremony a small crowd stopped along the path by us to watch. They applauded when we were declared official husbands. It was very nice.
Since we hadn’t told anyone we were getting married, after lunch with Bob and Chris we headed back to our hotel to alert the media. We made a few calls to key family, like David to his Mom, and then we put it on Facebook! Where else?
The view from our window seat at Robert was terrific overlooking Columbus Circle. You may recognize it from CNN these days. Their New York studios are around the circle clockwise (to the left) from where we sat.
The picture on the left is looking north down Broadway. The picture on the right shows Central Park as seen from its southwest corner. The street running north along the edge is Central Park West where John Lennon and Yoko Ono lived.
The Best Wedding Gift!
We married on Sunday. The very next day we were treated to an unexpected wedding gift. On Monday, October 6th the U.S. Supreme Court let stand lower court rulings that had overturned same-sex wedding bans in five states: Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin. This effectively legalized same-sex marriage in those states — and it began the final unraveling of resistance to Marriage Equality.
While the Court that day had not yet legalized same-sex marriage nationally, it was clear they weren’t buying the specious arguments against it. Now it was just a matter time — 8 months to be exact: June 26, 2015.
Gosh, if David and I had just realized our wedding would turn the tide for Marriage Equality nationwide we would have married way sooner!
A Few Weeks Later…
…we got our final official license in the mail!
In some browsers a few of the pictures above are rotated sideways or upside down. In most browsers, though, I think everything is OK. Don’t know why. If it happens to you, please be careful and don’t twist your neck too bad!
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