Husbands for life

Larry and Steve claim their happiness to the world after the wedding.

I had a very moving day a few days ago on July 10th. My friends Steve and Larry got married at the San Francisco City Hall. Attending a gay wedding as my first wedding in the US was of course interesting and different, for the least. I live in San Francisco, after all…But it actually was way more than that. I witnessed the consecration of 19 years of love between two exceptional individuals who made the commitment to love and support each other for better and for worse, in health and in sickness, in wealth and in poverty, for no less than six times to this date!

 

The French in me – meaning the political animal – would say: come on people, why does it have to be this hard for two persons who love each other and don’t harm anyone to be allowed to officially claim their love? Why does it have to take so long for them to be granted some basic human rights to protect each of them in case the worst happens to one of them? Is it because of the Bible? Because if it is, I beg you to remember that Jesus loved all his children: the poor, the ugly, the sick, the prostitutes. Is loving someone when you are the same sex such an evil act? I don’t intend to shock or to be provocative. I am just a sensitive woman who thinks there are worst things happening in this world that deserve skepticism, moral disapproval and punishment. And many of them don’t.

First ceremony in 1989. They climbed a mountaintop in a red-rock box-canyon in Sedona and exchanged their vows and a ring at the top.

This being said, let’s go back to my friends. 19 years of love, it matters. It’s more time than my parents stayed married after all. And boy, do these guys love each other… When Steve and Larry met in 1989 they had their first commitment ceremony on a mountaintop in a red-rock box-canyon in Sedona, AZ. They exchanged their vows and a ring during a spiritual ceremony after hiking up with their friends. Larry and Steve, after exchanging their vows in Sedona in 1989.

1989. Larry and Steve have just met.

1989. Larry and Steve have just met.

Then they moved to San Francisco for Steve to pursue his studies. On Valentine’s Day 1991, they made their second commitment and registered as domestic partners. San Francisco was the first city and county in the US to give this right to same-sex couples in the name of equal rights. This small ceremony at the City Hall allowed Larry to take advantage of Steve’s insurance coverage, which was better than his.
In April 2003, the same right was also granted by the State of California, in an extended version. My friends made their third commitment and registered as domestic partners at the State level. They had a small ceremony at the Gay and Lesbian Community Center. This new legislation granted them more rights regarding medical matters, taxes and inheritance but also specified their responsibilities as a couple in the eyes of the law. According to Steve, the thousand or more rights defined in this legislation “made a big difference.”

Then on Valentine’s Day of 2004, the Revolution started. Appalled by George Bush’s declaration saying he intended to change the Federal Constitution to put an end to gay marriage, San Francisco’s freshly elected mayor Gavin Newson decided to uphold the State Constitution. In the name of non discrimination against gay and lesbians he announced he would start issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The world media turned their cameras this way and San Francisco became even more than it had ever been the symbol of tolerance for some, a new Sodom and Gomorra for others. But for same-sex couples from all over the country, the Far West had never been so close: they rushed to San Francisco’s City Hall from all four corners of the US.

Steve and Larry are getting married on July 10th, 2008.

Steve and Larry are getting married on July 10th, 2008.

Steve and Larry were living nearby. They decided to go down to get married. They both were moved by the incredible outpouring of support from everybody who was there. “We were making History. We had to stand for that, remembers Steve. It felt very personal and for the first time it put a new face of what a gay couple looked like and the normality of us showing our love. It was love first and foremost.” Five hours and a half later, they were married. That was the 4th time they officially committed to each other.
A few months later Steve and Larry attended the Glide Memorial Church wedding celebration acknowledging the 4 432 same-sex marriages that took place during those exhilarating times. It was their 5th official ceremony. Unfortunately, the Federal Supreme Court decided otherwise and declared these marriages invalid on the ground that Gavin Newson lacked the authority to issue same-sex marriage licenses. 
Four years later, this past May, the California Supreme Court rendered a decision saying that it is a fundamental Constitutional right to marry and that the gender is not a legitimate basis upon which to deny this legal right. San Francisco started celebrating same-sex marriages again. And Steve and Larry made their 6th official commitment, on Thursday, July 10th 2008, in front of their friends and family. “And this time it’s in every way legal because of the Supreme Court decision, smiles Steve. No one can take that away from us”.

Nothing else but love.

Nothing else but love.

Beyond the political aspect of this long struggle that will go on probably until next November, in my eyes Steve and Larry’s marriage on July 10th is the apotheosis of a unique love story. It is the conclusion of 19 years of patience against discrimination, 19 years of hope to be granted the same rights as other couples, 19 years of pure love that no legal institution will ever be competent to measure or comment upon. And from my point of view it deserves absolutely nothing else than respect.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

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