Marriage Equality Feed

Election Day: Jumping for Joy for Marriage Equality: Tarrell and Dayna #Marriage Equality #JumpingforJoy #IDo #RevAndrew

TarrellDaynaJ4jThe job at the bank got pretty busy in late 2014 and throughout 2015 so I didn't have much time to work on weddings unfortunately - I think you can tell from all of these posts how much I really enjoy officiating and planning them. And for the first half of 2016, after the position was eliminated, I did a lot of other things, like help shepherd a friend through his final days, work on my art, etc. But, now I'm back on the path towards working on weddings again and it feels pretty damn awesome.

My first wedding 'back' was in mid September to marry Tarrell and Dayna out at Austin's Ale House in Kew Gardens. It was a beautiful afternoon for an outdoor wedding and the bride and groom and their family couldn't have been nicer. Here's a photo from the day by Photographer Kelly Williams.

Election Day: Jumping for Joy for Marriage Equality: The Surprise Wedding of Rob and John #Marriage Equality #JumpingforJoy #IDo #RevAndrew

If I thought a burlesque wedding was a little out of the ordinary, then a surprise wedding was a piece of cake.

J4JRobJohnWedding2It was ostensibly a 50th birthday party for one of the grooms to be as the guests weren't told that they were about to attend a wedding. My friend Devin who is a wedding planner in Fort Lauderdale knew the guys and set this up. I was to pretend to be a party guest and reveal myself to be a licensed officiant at some point during the party.

It went something like this:

Crowd sings Happy Birthday to Rob

Rob: thank you all so much - I'm glad to be here with the love of my life, John, whom I've been with for 15 years...

Crowd: awwwww

Rob: and I'd like to take the opportunity while you're all here to ask him to marry me!

Crowd: (applause)

John: now if only we were able to get married here and now with everyone already here, that would be really great!

Crowd: (nervous chuckling)

Me: Excuse me! I'm a licensed officiant in New York state and I can marry you!

Crowd: (collective laughter and rolling eyes as they all realize they've been played)

Of course it was a year and a half ago and I'm paraphrasing, but you get the jist. The shot above is from photographer Steve Rosen whom I met at a wedding vendor fair sometime in 2014. He's openly gay and loves to take photos at same sex weddings - so if you need someone to shoot your wedding, I highly recommend Steve!

Election Day: Jumping for Joy for Marriage Equality: A Burlesque Wedding #Marriage Equality #JumpingforJoy #IDo #RevAndrew

MattCubbyOn May 10, 2014, I had what was probably the wildest officiant experience of my career (so far) - I officiated at a wedding of Matt and Scott, two gay male burlesque performers who were then joined by three dozen of their burlesque performer friends (straight, gay, male, female, etc) and emceed the middle part of a mutli-hour show dedicated to the happy couple. It was held in a performance space down in SoHo and was an all day extravaganza. Pure joy.. and then some!!

Election Day: Jumping for Joy for Marriage Equality Edie Julia, Key West Lives! #Marriage Equality #JumpingforJoy

Oh my goodness... Edie and Julia - what a kick that wedding was!

EdieJuliaJ4JSo here's the set up - on March 9, 2014, I turned 50 years old - I had celebrated with an enormous bash just weeks before on the final night of a weekly show I'd been producing and emceeing for the previous nine years (that's 457 shows, my friends), but naturally, on my birthday went out with friends. Literally the next day I kicked off a 9 day 9 city road show taking three top economists from my bank to meet with clients and prospective clients. We started out in Boston, then my manager went on to do two dates in Texas while I put the final touches on the rest - the MoMA in NYC, Minneapolis, Calgary, Denver, Chicago and Toronto. What a whirlwind that trip was - and what a lot of fun we had meeting hundreds of clients.

By the time I returned on March 20th, I was abit wrecked, but oh oh, I had a wedding to perform the next day - at the LGBT business expo at the Javits for two friends of friends, Edie and Julia who were up from Key West to get married. :) First, that next morning I took a cab to the Javits because it was simply easier than trying to schelp down on the subway. When the cab driver asked me what was going on, I told him, and boy, did he have a judgment about that. Whatever. I was sort of too tired to explain what a phobic jerk he was and just tired enough that I was willing to go off on him. But, in the spirit of what I knew would be a special day, I did not. (but grrrr)

I met the brides and my friend Tommy who had arranged this in the Key West booth. As we were getting set up, I noticed that my friends from the LGBT cheerleading group, Cheer New York, were there and warming up to perform. I'd raised a lot of money for them over the years so I asked a huge favor even though I knew that the group's leader was kind of stressed out.

Back to the booth, I performed the ceremony and a large group gathered to watch and take pictures (there is certainly video out there somewhere of the ceremony!), and as I pronounced them married, all 20 or so members of Cheer New York raced up to the gals and did a special cheer just for them!! A local drag queen who dresses as Tina Turner seized the moment to insert herself into the mix and get tons of pics with the brides. :) Fun! Anyway, we all had a blast - and, later, Tommy, the gals, myself and another friend all went to Chez Josephine for a beautiful dinner. I slipped the pianist $20 to lay La Vie En Rose (one of my favorites) for the ladies from me.

Edie and Julia often keep in touch and are doing well and very happy living the married life at long last .... a true definition of 'happily ever after'. :)

Election Day: Jumping for Joy for Marriage Equality: Rob and Keith #Marriage Equality #JumpingforJoy

J4JrobkeithRob and Keith came all the way from Oregon to see shows and get married in New York City on Feb 24, 2014. The told me that they were staying at the Warwick and I used my connections there to find out the room that they were staying in and the floor plan so we would know if there was enough room for the grooms, myself and four or five guests. It was a beautiful, quiet, and loving ceremony; the JOY that emanated from that room was awesome. I also arranged for a car company that I did business with to give them an amazing rate so that they could tour the city in style and see many sights in an afternoon.

You know, I love being able to help people by connecting them to services and other people whose values I trust and who want to do good for other people. I cannot overstate that enough. I love what I do for a living!

Election Day: Jumping for Joy for Marriage Equality: Jon and Chris and Reed and Topher #Marriage Equality #JumpingforJoy

This is one of the coolest weddings that I've done in all the years - friends referred two couples to me from Atlanta who were coming up to New York - one couple had had a ceremony but it wasn't legal, and the other were getting married for the first time. As they were hundreds of miles away, I wasn't able to consult with them much before the ceremony except with one of the grooms, Chris, via email.

As it turned out, Chris and Jon wanted a more non-traditional ceremony and Reed and Topher wanted something more traditional - but Chris was the father of Reed. So I would be marrying father and son to their respective boyfriends with two different ceremonies in two different locations in Central Park all in the same hour on November 8th, 2013 (three years ago today and on the 2nd anniversary of my first wedding!).

J4jchrisjonI married Chris and Jon in a quiet ceremony in Wagner's Cove - very intimate with just a few close friends looking on. Then, we all walked across the park to Bethesda Fountain for the ceremony of Reed and Topher. Chris and Jon had been together many years, but Reed and Topher had only been together for a couple years. There was a part inside of me that envied how normal it would be for their generation (in their 20s)... that it would never be like it was for Chris and Jon (and myself and my contemporaries).

Anyway, we arrived at Bethesda Fountain and the guys looked so shiny and fresh in their suits, it was almost like I was their dad, too. Off in the distance, below the bridge, a guitarist started playing 'Amazing Grace' and the three of us - Reed, Topher, and I - smiled at each other feeling that there was Something Else at work conspiring to make this day a little extra special. We all sort of teared up together but, pressed on after some nervous laughter... but by the end, we were all in tears. By the time we got our composure and finished, a crowd had gathered along the bridge above us and down the side stairways, but we didn't see them, so intent we were on experiencing the ceremony. It wasn't until I pronounced them married, and a thunderous applause that we even knew they were J4jreedtopherthere. It was kind of like all the saints and apostles had come down from the eternal to bless this marriage of these two young gay men who were so in love with each other. As you can imagine, there was not a dry eye in the wedding party.

As the two couples and their friends, went one way, I walked through the Park, back to my day job, and smiled in the autumn leaves. I knew that we had all been changed by this. Profoundly. And that, in my opinion, is what marriage is all about.

Election Day: Jumping for Joy for Marriage Equality: Ron and Ali #Marriage Equality #JumpingforJoy

J4JronaliThe phone call came just days after I'd started working as a corporate event planner at the Bank of Tokyo in April 2013 - it was from Marriage Equality Executive Director Brian Silva - a couple had reached out to him looking for an officiant for their upcoming wedding. Brian was kind enough to put me in touch with them and they booked me for their May 5th wedding.

For me, this was a true New York experience -Ron and Ali lived in a building on the lower east side - an unobstructed view of all of downtown and the east side. A cool apartment filled with mementos from various travels around the world. A smattering of guests and a generous helping of wine to go along with the day. Lovely couple. I recently visited with them and they're still happy - but of course were together for many years (17 I think) before they actually made it legal. Such a day to Jump for Joy!

Election Day: Jumping for Joy for Marriage Equality: Bryce and Neil #Marriage Equality #JumpingforJoy

BryceAndNeilWed29My first wedding in 2013 was with a fabulous gay couple that planned an amazing wedding at a space in Prospect Park (Brooklyn, for those not in the know). With about 80 guests, it was the largest wedding that I had done to date and, I think, the largest that I've done overall.

After some consulting with the couple over coffee, I wrote a terrific ceremony (as I do with all my clients) and looked forward to their February 16th wedding. I wish I had a funny, kooky, story to go along with this wedding - one of the grooms performs all over the world performing horror/comic/sexual monologues as Dandy Darkly .. it's sort of as if Edgar Allen Poe, Jonathan Ames, and Tammy Faye all got together and had a baby, it might come out looking like Dandy Darkly, but only if Pee Wee Herman had been his babysitter. Fortunately/unfortunately, Dandy Darkly must be experienced, he's just not that easy to categorize! LOL

Anyway, this was the third set of friends that I'd married and that's a pretty cool feeling, all in all. :)

Election Day: Jumping for Joy for Marriage Equality: End of 2012 - Photo Finish with Ang and Terri #Marriage Equality #JumpingforJoy

Around Christmas time 2012, I saw a post by my friend Rev Annie Lawrence that she was looking for a photographer to shoot a wedding on New Year's Eve day in Central Park. It was for two women from Australia who had come to the city for a wedding but she couldn't book a photographer. Being a bit of an amateur photographer myself, I got hired and used the camera belonging to the couple, Ang and Terri.

It was a beautiful day and I got a lot of really great shots - and they were happy and you know what? So was I. :)

Here are a couple of the shots:



Election Day: Jumping for Joy for Marriage Equality: The Beards in Rockefeller Plaza #Marriage Equality #JumpingforJoy

TimDavidWedding121212BLOG... and on 12 12 12 I made the second of two stops on my Marriage express to marry Tim and David aka The Beards - as they gathered with family and friends in the middle of Rockefeller Plaza. As it was the middle of the evening and crowded beyond belief due to the holidays, I was certain that the police would not be happy with us. I also worried that out in the world in the middle of tourists and commuters, a group of approximately 20 people clogging up the plaza for a same sex wedding would not be welcomed... but to my surprise, not only did the police welcome us, but there gathered a large group of people to cheer the grooms on!! The guys were from North Carolina and, as with previous couples, figured that the day would never come when Marriage Equality would come to them, so they decided to go to it here in New York City.

You know, I have to say, that I have always been concerned about crazy people making a scene over a same sex wedding - and in fact, the women at that first wedding I planned - on Oct 22, 2011, had the same concerns - but they, like The Beards (and like a couple that I will write about soon) were not just 'tolerated" but were celebrated, cheered, and appreciated by onlookers of whatever orientation from whereever they're from.

There are days, like today, the Election, when I worry that we are going backwards in the pursuit of fairness and social justice... and then I remember moments like this and I am reminded that those people are (hopefully) few and far between.