On September 1, 2002, The New York Times began a quiet revolution when it reported that Daniel Andrew Gross and Steven Goldstein had entered into a civil union in Vermont, before traveling to the Musée des Beaux-Arts of Montreal to exchange Jewish vows in front of Rabbi David M. Steinberg.
This was the first same-sex wedding announcement in The New York Times.
What seemed like something stunningly new back then has now become utterly routine. Just two years after that first announcement, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation counted 504 newspapers around the country that had followed the example of the Times, including six in Alabama and 31 in Texas that had started to print stories about same-sex marriages.
The Times itself has printed more than 300 same-sex wedding or commitment announcements in the last seven years. To celebrate this achievement as New York celebrates the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, Tom Kulaga, executive creative director of marketing at the Times, decided to track down as many of those couples as he could to invite them to a cocktail party that will take place Tuesday evening at the newspaper's headquarters on Eighth Avenue in Manhattan.
"It was a real detective effort to locate these couples," Kulaga tells The Advocate . "Social networking played a huge role [Facebook, Twitter, and Six Degrees of GLBT Separation], and a volunteer team of about a dozen members of our GLBT employee group pitched in to try and locate individuals and invite them personally. So, all told, we feel very proud that we received acceptances from 75 couples."
Leslie Miller and Alicia Salzer -- both medical doctors -- were the first two women to announce their marriage in the Times ... and that led them to the fathers of their first child.
Anthony Brown and Gary Spino (who also got a story about their wedding in the Times ) are involved in an organization called The Wedding Party, which holds mass commitment ceremonies every year on the day of the gay pride parade in Manhattan. When they saw the story about Miller and Salzer in the Times , they contacted the women to ask them to speak at one of their events.