Marriage, Hawaiian Style



“I think there will be a marriage closet,” Foley says. “They will come here and get married, but when they go home they won’t demand their rights.” He also believes, based on experience with same-sex unions in Denmark, that the number of couples who get married will be a trickle at first. Still, at least some couples will probably want to make a public statement about their marriages, guaranteeing a round of media coverage in their hometowns and generating a new discussion of the issue.

Among the first to tie the knot, of course, will be the plaintiffs. “We feel we’ve waited all our lives for this,” says Melillo. “Every year is a hardship.” He and Lagon, both of whom are ministers, have talked about Melillo’s performing the ceremony himself. “We have family expecting a fabulous ceremony,” Melillo says. “We’d be neglectful if we didn’t have one.”

Baehr and Dancel plan a private wedding on a mountain slope in Maui, away from the glare of the media. “We may have found ourselves doing our best to live up to our surprise responsibility as role models,” says Baehr. “But on our wedding day it’s not about public education. It’s about our commitment to each other, and that’s private and personal.”

Sitting on their patio in Waianae on Oahu with their daughter, her boyfriend, and their 7-month-old grandson, Pregil and Rodrigues talk about the case every night. They keep a running conversation of their plans.

“I wanted to get married on Christmas Day,” says Pregil.

“But we have our grandson’s party coming up, so we’ll have to do that first,” Rodrigues explains.

“She wants it fabulous,” adds Pregil. “I want it simple.”

“I guess I’m old-fashioned,” Rod­rigues concludes. “You do it once and one time only. For me, once I’m married, even if there are hard times, I’m not getting a divorce. I’ll do whatever I have to to make it work. I don’t fight for something just to let it go.”