Originally published on Advocate.com February 14 2004 1:00 AM ET
The relationship started in June 1990 with an argument over money. Frank Jump was a dental office manager, Vincenzo Aiosa a patient with a bill problem. It's been love ever since. Now they're planning to commit to each other in a way they once thought impossible--they're going to Toronto for Valentine's Day to get married in one of the few places in the world that allows same-sex couples to legally tie the knot.
The Brooklyn, N.Y., pair are among six gay and lesbian couples headed north as part of the "Civil Marriage Trail" project. Organized by New York activists Brendan Fay and Jesus Lebron, it's meant to be part personal celebration and part political statement in support of gay marriages. "I've always felt gypped by not being able to get married," said Jump, 46, a teacher and composer who lives with Aiosa, a contractor. "Now that it is an option in Canada, yeah, I want to be married, very much. I love Vincenzo, I'm very committed to him."
The men moved in together just months after they started dating, registered as domestic partners in New York City, and were best men together at the wedding of Aiosa's niece in Italy some years ago. This week, they picked out their own rings--white and yellow gold bands--and wrote their own vows. They expect to meet the other couples and pick up their wedding licenses in Toronto on Friday. The ceremonies are scheduled for Valentine's Day.
Legal same-sex marriages have taken place in the Canadian provinces of Ontario and British Columbia in the past several monts, after court rulings there allowed them. Last June the Canadian federal government proposed legalizing marriages nationwide, and the issue is being examined by Canada's high court. Currently, only Belgium and the Netherlands recognize same-sex marriages. The United States has banned same-sex marriage on a federal level. That means the same-sex marriages performed in Canada are not considered legal here.
Fay, 46, conceived of the Canadian trip after marrying his partner there last year. After his return, he decided he wanted to help other couples experience what he had, even if it wasn't legally recognized in this country. "Simply being in line under a sign that says 'Marriage Licenses' was an extraordinary experience for us," he said. Aside from Jump and Aiosa, one other male couple and four female couples are heading to Toronto, Fay said. They hail from New York City; Webster, Mont.; St. Louis; Dunnellen, Fla.; and Rockford, Ill.