My partner and i
are not what you'd call marriage tourists. When we
decided to get hitched, it never occurred to us to ship off
to Massachusetts or some other jurisdiction where
same-sex nuptials or even civil unions are legal. We
don't live there, we wouldn't get any new
rights there, and we didn't view our ceremony as a
No, as tacky as
it will sound for the rest of our lives, we tied the knot
in Vegas. It made sense; it's our home.
As with many who
come here to wed, this was not my first trip to the
altar. My maiden run took place in 1999 in Sedona, Ariz., to
a man I fell in love with at 20 and ended up splitting
with at 30. That was an over-the-top affair with
nearly 100 people, a DJ, and a fancy sit-down dinner.
I followed through with it despite conflicted feelings, and
I'd later come to view the event as a debacle
that only heightened the humiliation and embarrassment
of our breakup.
Then, two years
after becoming single for the first time in my adult
life, I met Miles while recruiting members for the Vegas
chapter of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists
Association. This prospect, I also recruited for
myself. Our courtship began in the shadow of the Las Vegas
Strip at a happening little Spanish tapas restaurant called
Firefly. Over bacon-wrapped dates and hot spinach
salad an attraction took hold; within days we were
using the term "boyfriend" to describe one
I was hesitant to
have another wedding, but Miles and I were so much in
love and I didn't have any of those doubts and fears
of the first go-round. We had been together 18 months
when I proposed to him on bended knee beside a roaring
fire in a suite at a resort on Mount Hood, Ore.
Evidently, he said yes.
considered holding the wedding in one of the Vegas resort
chapels--the elegant and recently renovated Mandalay
Bay was our top choice. Then we discovered what a mill
the Vegas wedding thing is. You get about 45 minutes
to have the most important experience of your life
before they usher you out so the next couple can have their
life-changing event. It seemed impersonal, rushed, and
rented one of the Sky Villas at Palms, a 6,000-square-foot
suite on the 31st floor of the new Fantasy Tower with a
vagina-shaped private pool hanging off the building.
It turned out to be a brilliant idea. Even if you
can't afford the $25,000 for that space, you could go
for a SkyLoft at MGM Grand or a penthouse suite at Bellagio,
each for about $800. Vegas, we realized, has a glut of
dramatic spaces perfectly suited for a cozy, intimate,
unhackneyed Sin City wedding. Best of all, you can
stay as long as you like, even, as in our case, overnight.
We hired the
in-house caterers for a turkey-carving station, a mushroom
ravioli pasta bar, and a killer dessert tray. That was lucky
because the cake we ordered from an otherwise
wonderful French bakery on the west side of town was
miserable and drippy, perhaps the only real
We skipped the
dancing, instead relying on our iPod to provide music. Our
friend Mark created a slide show of pictures of us that
played on the suite's many flat-screen TVs
throughout the evening, and to Vegas up the works just
a touch, we had poker chips printed with our names and dates
for guests to take as favors. Mostly, though, we allowed the
space itself to be the star (along with the two of us
in our rented monkey suits), and everyone seemed to
know they were doing something different and special.
presided over by a liberal rabbi we found after being
rejected by three others, was perfect. Rabbi Mel had never
done a same-sex wedding and welled up during our
service as he explained his own spiritual journey to a
place where he was OK with this. His journey, he said,
involved accidentally stumbling over The Love Letter on
cable the night before the wedding and realizing that
all love is equal. Thank God for Showtime.
So now Miles and
I move on to the next phase: adoption. Clark County,
which contains Las Vegas, happens to be quite progressive
about helping gays adopt children, so we hope this
year to become dads.
People-- even gay
people -- do wonder why we bothered to have a legally
meaningless wedding at all. We look at it as the foundation
of our life together and, even more important, the
foundation of our child's family. She'll
look at those pictures one day and she'll see us
young, happy, in love.
Yes, such things
exist here in the heart of Sin City.