June 17, 2008, was the first day when same-sex couples all over California could go get their marriage licenses and even wed if they so chose.
In the course of 13 years of couplehood, my partner, Dave, and I have had a purely ceremonial wedding complete with gifts, suits, and an open bar; a West Hollywood domestic partnership; a California domestic partnership; and one of those San Francisco '04 marriage licenses that had the shelf life of an overripe avocado.
Bridezilla? Advocate columnist Dave White waves at his husband.
Now that we're at ceremony number five, this whole marriage thing has become a slightly more glamorous form of paperwork -- like getting a fishing license, only with friends and family wishing you well. Off we went to where the action was in West Hollywood, namely the auditorium by the tennis courts. Major bedlam was expected for these first few days of legal queer nuptials, so rather than have the hordes gather at City Hall, the West Hollywood politicos decided to take the whole thing off-site.
Like the DMV, only better haircuts
We circled around looking for parking, but all the spots seemed to be reserved for "City Officials and the Media Only." Which was all well and good, but where were the couples supposed to park? Was the media only interested in interviewing city officials? We finally snagged a meter about a block north of the Beverly Center and trooped our way back to Nuptials Central. (Dave was, admittedly, disappointed that there were no protesters with whom to mix it up. Maybe they all came this morning to harass George Takei.)
Once inside, we were reminded that this was ultimately about filling out forms for the government; naturally, couples were required to stand in two separate lines before then having to wait until their number was called. In line with us was an interesting cross-section of homo humanity -- men in matching suits, bears in cargo shorts, tattooed dudes wearing sleeveless shirts to better show off their body art, lesbians with cat hair on their black T-shirts.
No, you can't use your PayPal account.
There were even two Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, but they were there to act as witnesses for friends. Didn't they read the Los Angeles Times piece urging us not to get crazy and flamboyant at our weddings, lest the religious right use those images against us? Fetch my smelling salts!
Always a bridesmaid...or a bride of God.
We did have to stifle giggles at one point -- one couple behind us asked another couple if they had kids, and when the second couple answered "Three," the first couple asked, "Real, or canine?" -- but we got through the DMV-style line pretty quickly. To entertain ourselves while waiting we debated whether or not we were being totally bourgeois for getting married. We decided we're still cool anyway.
Outdated forms pop the question: Which one of you plays the boy part?
The newlywed game
Dave White wisely takes the instruction manual.
We're getting married this Sunday in a ceremony that will be officiated by our housemate, who got ordained online last year to marry two hetero friends back in Indiana. And despite all the articles about how lavish gay weddings will be pumping kajillions into the California economy, we're all just going out for donuts afterward. But we'll make sure to tell the cashier that she's selling crullers to a legally married gay couple.