It’s the perfect union. The producers of Craigslist’s fledgling TV department, on the lookout for meaningful original content, read an ad posted by Reverend Lorelei Starbuck just prior to the overturning of California’s Proposition 8, in which she offered to officiate same-sex marriage ceremonies. “We saw Lorelei's posting and decided to follower her working with a client couple,” producers Drew Brown and Bob Gillan recall. “Little did we know, the weeks that followed would have so many ups and downs for the gay community—and everyone who cares about this issue.” The producers decided to chronicle Starbuck and the pending nuptials of Michael and Luca for Craigslist TV, an online documentary series. Starbuck speaks with Advocate.com about everyone’s right to love and marry and how she found a sympathetic ally with the popular online service.
The Advocate: What’s behind your desire to marry same-sex couples?
Lorelei Starbuck: I have been an advocate for the right to marry and have been doing weddings for many years. After Prop. 8, I saw a significant decrease in same-sex couples making commitments to one another…getting married. And I know what it is a powerful motivational tool is to have [the marriage certificate], but I also know that love is love. In a perfect world, I would like every same-sex couple to commit themselves to one another regardless of that piece of paper.
How did Craigslist TV come into the picture?
The video is just a bi-product of the Craigslist ad. They saw my post, contacted me, we talked and took the next step from there. For me, it wasn’t about publicity, but about allowing people to express their love and get married. I don’t want it to be sensationalized. I don’t want it to be what the mainstream press tends to grab onto when they look for same-sex couples. I just want it to be about the love and I want it to be beautifully done.
How did Michael and Luca find you?
They found me on my website. We talked on the phone and met, found it to be a match, and went forward. Interestingly enough, right after that I met with the Craigslist people and was asked if I had a couple. I told them I had just booked a couple so it was just perfect timing.
What does the word “marriage” mean to you?
Marriage and married couple are open to interpretation. Whenever two people join their lives together in a common purpose and want to spend the rest of their lives together that they’re marrying each other. Whether they have a legal piece of paper to follow it up with or not. The huge political issue here is: is marriage a religious word or is it not. And that’s not a political fight I want to get into because it’s all up to interpretation. I believe that when two people make a commitment to one another, whether the government or the state recognizes it as such, it’s a marriage. And that’s my belief and my feelings about that. They’re married. I’m marrying them. I am the person that is confirming their lives together so that they can move forward with a common focus, one common vision.
What’s your message about marriage and who do you want to reach?
I know a lot of heterosexual couples who have no problem at all with same-sex married couples and then I have heterosexual couples who have real issues about it. And I say to them the same thing I say to anyone: It’s not about you or me, it’s about the love the couple has for one another. How can this be wrong when you stand with a couple that has been with each other for 50 years and finally have the right to make it legal and do so with tears streaming down their faces? They’ve already been married for 50 years. I want the [gay and lesbian people] to know and recognize, understand that there’s absolutely no reason why they can’t make the commitment now or later, and I want the larger community, hopefully, at some point to recognize this.
Once same-sex marriage is legal, what happens with the couples you’ve already wed without documentation?
I’m a notary and can issue marriage licenses. I told the couples that I married, that when it becomes legal, we will produce the document. We will hand it to you and have a celebration. We’ll sign all of the legal work. Of course, it can’t be post-dated. The document will be the day that it actually occurs when the paper is in sight, but nonetheless, I’m committed to doing that.
Watch the CraigslistTV’s “Getting Married” episode below.