Ginny and Bill eventually had a marriage ceremony. It was a small, intimate affair since they both had already been married. I guess the second time around, people don’t make a big deal of it. So they had a ceremony and a reception with mostly close family and friends. Bill went out of his way to introduce us to his nephew Kevin and Kevin’s boyfriend Vince. Kevin had just graduated college and Vince was in his final year. It was eerily familiar. Needless to say, we got on like old friends, and a long-term friendship developed between us. Kevin was gregarious, outgoing, friendly, and a smooth operator like a politician. He was kind of good looking, though not really my type. But in general, people always liked him and that was one big reason for our enduring friendship. Vince was thin, with short dark hair, glasses, but sort of cute. I found that anyone who talked to him for just a few minutes could probably figure out his sexual orientation. He wasn’t flamboyant, but he did give off the gay vibe. I wasn’t sure if I found Vince attractive or not. If I was single and the opportunity presented itself, would I sleep with him. I dunno, maybe?
When we were in the men’s room fixing our hair, I whispered to Parker, “Do you find Vince attractive? I can’t decide.”
He checked for legs under the stalls, then straightened back up and said, “Hmm, maybe a little. But I think they are really good together. I bet Vince is amazing in bed though.”
“What makes you think that?” I questioned.
“He’s with Kevin. Enough said?” he replied.
I guess what he was saying was that Kevin could probably work a room better than anyone, and he could probably get a hook up very easily. So there’s gotta be a reason why he stuck with Vince.
“He’s probably a stallion between the sheets!” Parker added.
We both cracked up laughing because Vince was so low key, it was difficult to envision him as a wild man in bed. But you never know what happens behind closed doors.
Though Ginny and Bill could get married with relative ease, things were different for Parker and me. Obviously, going in to a city hall and signing the request form for a domestic partnership was not the same as a marriage ceremony, so there would be no “wedding” per se. However, we were engaged and had a legal domestic partnership, so in our minds we were married. We just had to accept the fact that we wouldn’t be recognized legally as a married couple.
So we signed forms and paid a nominal fee to declare our domestic partnership on Parker’s 24th birthday in 2003. The requirements for domestic partnership were as follows:
• You and your partner must reside together in a relationship of mutual support
• You cannot be related to your partner
• Both applicants must be 18 years of age or older
• Neither party can be married or part of an existing domestic partnership
• This record will be public information, just like a marriage record
As you can see, there is no mention or requirement that the applicants be of a specific sex, so it’s available to anyone who meets the criteria, fills out the paperwork, and pays the fee. A week later we received a certificate in the mail that confirmed our domestic partnership.
And that was that, or so we thought. In that same year, a court case named Goodridge v. Department of Public Health, where several same-sex couples were suing for the right to legally marry, was making its way through the court system in our state. After hearing the case, the Superior Court judge ruled in favor of the Department of Public Health. The plaintiffs appealed the decision directly to the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC), which heard arguments on March 4, 2003. After more than six months of hearing the evidence, the SJC unexpectedly reversed the decision of the lower court and decided that “the denial of marriage licenses to same-sex couples was sex discrimination and is therefore unconstitutional” in our state. Suddenly it was game on.
This whipped up a firestorm of controversy between all sorts of organizations. GLAAD was battling the Catholic Church, the Supreme Judicial Court was battling George W. Bush and Mitt Romney, the Governor of Massachusetts. Suits were filed by opponents of the decision asking federal courts to overrule the decision. Other suits were filed by the ACLU. When the dust settled, it was a stalemate. The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts decided that the prohibition of same-sex marriage denied rights granted by the Massachusetts Constitution and was therefore unconstitutional, but the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) passed by the US Federal Government prevented the federal government from recognizing marriages of same-sex couples. This was getting very confusing. Same-sex married couples would be recognized in the state but not in the country. How was that possible?
Parker and I were certainly in no hurry to be Guinea pigs in this battlefield. Three years later, after some 10,000 same sex couples were wed in the state of Massachusetts, I asked Parker if he was ready to formally tie the knot. We talked to all the parents involved. We told them that we didn’t want to make a huge production out of this and just wanted it to be quick and easy. As far as Parker and I were concerned, we were already married and we didn’t need a piece of paper to prove it. But to gain the benefits afforded to all married couples in the state, we realized we had to get married legally. We set the date for June 2006, a few months after my 29th birthday. We both liked the significance of a June wedding.
We kept the guest list small just like when my mother married Bill, only relatives (sisters, brothers, cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and in-laws) and close friends. We were both raised somewhat Catholic, but we knew that same-sex marriage was not allowed in the Catholic Church. According Church doctrine, “The Church holds that same-sex unions are an unfavorable environment for children and that the legalization of such unions is harmful to society.” Harmful to society? This is the same church that has been covering up worldwide sexual abuse of minors over decades. So who is truly harmful to society here?
Parker and I thought that the little nondenominational church on the college campus would be very fitting for our ceremony with a Justice of the Peace presiding. My parents were still very much active in the Catholic Church, so I wanted my parents to feel it was a ceremony they could be supportive of. They understood the situation and made the best of it. This was also the first time in years that both Parker’s mother and father would be in the same building at the same time. We tried to keep them seated apart from each other as much as possible, but since both he and Ginny were remarried by this time, it wasn’t an issue.
We were married in June 2006 and went on a honeymoon—a week in Paris and a week in Amsterdam.