February 15, 2004

get me to the church on time



We live in a turbulent time, when Stuff Matters, and most of the Stuff coming down the pike is BAD. In midst of all the killing, the lying and the cynicism, one weekend of luminescence is shining through this formerly great land of ours, and its source lies on the steps of City Hall in San Francisco.

Tessa's best friend Jason – and his partner Tim – were one of the 450 same-sex couples married on Saturday, and he shared the ceremony with us via cell phone. In a fit of unbelievable congruence, we happened to be having coffee with Dr. Peter Kaufman, the UNC professor who was the minister at our wedding, which made the whole thing surreal and so real.

Jason (in black) and Tim hold the cell phones to the deputized minister (l), San Francisco on Saturday afternoon

at the same moment, I take a picture of Tessa listening on cell speakerphone, with Dr. Kaufman in background, Chatham County, North Carolina

Apparently there were no protestors at the courthouse, no conservatives with "God Hates Fags" signs to be seen – just a perfect 72-degree day, lines of overjoyed people, strangers handing out wedding gifts, and the collective *sigh* of a country that is actually doing something right for the weekend.



Sure enough, there will be Family Values and Rabid Right groups swooping down to take a giant dump on these incredible proceedings, but Tessa is right: they can't ever take this moment away. As of this writing, Tim and Jason are married, and that feeling will be permanent, regardless of a judge's decision. The genie is out of the bottle.


But it doesn't end there – we were having brunch this morning with Tessa's oldest college friend Lee and her partner Suzanne, and they were so struck by Jason and Tim's story that they dropped their forks, ran back to our apartment, and got online for a plane ticket. In a matter of minutes, all three of them (including Tessa) hopped on a plane for Los Angeles.

They just called me a few minutes ago from LAX airport, where they are going to rent a car and drive all night to San Francisco. I told them to be careful on the trip, but I imagine the adrenaline of participating in our generation's first truly radical moment will be more than enough to keep them awake through the desert sands.

Posted by irw at February 15, 2004 11:58 PM
Posted by: Alan at February 16, 2004 4:12 AM

I was quite pleased last summer to get to take part in preparing the internal memo that said "yup, we issue". Under our law it is a no-brainer constitutionally. They were just waiting for the right case to come along. And you know what? Family values appear to be intact. So, one question - is a San Fran licence now cooler than an Ontario one?

Posted by: Steven Garrity at February 16, 2004 5:11 AM

Prince Edward Island should do this - it could fill up our hotels in the shoulder season. We could call it "Moral Tourism".

You guys gonna be in San Fransisco when we're there?

Posted by: Alan at February 16, 2004 7:47 AM

Good call, Steve. Especially as it is the only jurisdiction that effectively shuts down homophobic bed and breakfast operations: see and scroll down at http://www.gov.pe.ca/humanrights/releases/may22-01.php3. See also: http://pei.cbc.ca/regional/servlet/View?filename=peibnb20010523.

Posted by: michelle at February 16, 2004 9:42 AM

I'm at work in St. Helena, CA, following what I can online to see what's happening in San Fran, knowing that Tess et all are there waiting on the steps of City Hall. I just read your blog, Ian, and I'm trying to stop bawling before the hordes arrive to taste wine. I'm so proud of the people who made this happen, so deeply happy and for once, satisfied that something good is happening just a few miles away.

Posted by: Ian at February 16, 2004 9:45 AM

Moral Tourism! Excellent!

We will be in SF a little bit after your sojourn, sadly, but I heard a rumor you were coming to New York.

Marriage update (as of 12:45pm Monday EST): Lee, Suzanne and Tessa are in line at City Hall, where they are about to hand out 400 numbers for the marriage certificates. Here's hoping they get invited into the Willy Wonka factory.

Posted by: Jason (a/k/a one of the Grooms) at February 16, 2004 11:07 AM

Ian - thank you for writing and for posting so many of our pix. I picked up Tessa and Lee and Suzanne at the airport at midnight and got them to a rental car last night. We spoke 15 minutes ago (10:30 AM PST) and they are within a quarter block of the City Hall steps. They will get in by early afternoon. We shall overcome, two by two by two...

It was truly thrilling to be a part of this most joyous expression of civil disobedience. It's rare that doing the right thing also feels so wonderfully, personally fulfilling. And, yes -- no matter what some judge says tomorrow --Tim and I are most assuredly married.

So that's the personal part. Indulge me in the political for a sec. Folks, if you're reading this, I implore you to contact your elected officials at every level of government to speak out on behalf of these marriages. Urge them to LOUDLY oppose the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment as the horrific piece of fascism that it is. If you're straight, point that out. (Let's face it, you guys have more pull.)

I have no doubt that we will EVENTUALLY do the right thing and legalize these marriages. I'd just prefer that it be sooner rather than later. Again, thanks for celebrating with us, Ian.



Posted by: David Ball at February 16, 2004 11:57 AM

This is why I love San Francisco. These are real family values.

While we're at it, check out http://www.dearmary.com/mary/whydearmary.html

It's a letter-writing campaign to Dick Cheney's lesbian daughter--you know, the one whose rights he wants to withhold.

Congrats to the new spouses. DB

Posted by: steph at February 16, 2004 12:02 PM

Isn't it true that not all conservatives are anti-gay but most anti-gay people are "conservative"? That's the trouble with labels.....

Posted by: Kmeelyon at February 16, 2004 6:30 PM

Hello Ian, you don't know me, but I'm an old aquaintance of Tessa's from UNC-Chapel HIll, and I live in Oakland, California. What a lovely surprise it was to be at City Hall in SF this afternoon to witness the marriage of my dear friends, and then to look across the room and see Tessa (whom I'd last seen somewhere about 1989). Amazing. Even more so, Suzanne is another long lost friend of mine from my college days. I nearly fell over when I realized that the "Suzanne," whom Tessa was there with was my old friend Suzy. Absolutely amazing. Of course, in all the rush of emotions and activity, I didn't get any photos or them, nor did I exchange any contact info. So I got on the net when I came home so I could try to find everyone again. So hello, hello, and please do facilitate my re-connecting...


Posted by: Kmeelyon at February 16, 2004 9:51 PM

P.S. Someone posted a photo essay at this site: http://www.authenti-city.com/friday.htm

Posted by: jeanmarie at February 16, 2004 11:01 PM

What an amazing moment...so happy for all and will do my best to make it known that I am for same sex marriage and all the rights that should be included...
Congratulations to Jason and Tim and hopefully Lee and Suzanne...


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