Married: September 14, 2008 Together: 10 years
As one of TV’s most successful producer-directors, Paris Barclay knows all about opening minds through entertainment. That’s one reason for the lavish wedding he threw with Christopher Mason, his partner of 10 years. “We wanted to fight the ballot initiative,” Barclay explains, sitting with Mason in the couple’s airy living room, “and we thought, What’s the best statement that we can make? We should get married. Most of the people coming to this wedding will never have seen a gay wedding. I seriously doubt that anyone is going to come away unmoved. We’ll give them the words, and then hopefully they’ll go out and talk to their friends about it.”
For the grooms, it was not their first brush with history. Mason recounts the day in 2001 when, after staying a month in Boston, they decided to change their tickets and fly back early. “We thought, Why hang around another day?” That’s how they came to be home on September 11, when their originally scheduled flight crashed into the World Trade Center.
“After that Paris and I came to the conclusion that we needed to make a difference in the world,” says Mason, a food-industry executive. “For us it came to adopting some kids.” African-American boys, to be specific. As the couple researched the foster care system in Los Angeles County, they learned that dark-skinned boys are the last to be adopted. “I’m pretty chocolate myself,” points out Barclay, who attended an exclusive boys’ school in Chicago before going on to Harvard. “I thought, What if I had been born into different circumstances?”
On Sunday, September 14, with their sons William and Cyrus as ring bearers, the couple said “I do.” The ceremony began with ousting the paparazzi -- trying to catch the likes of guests Helen Mirren and Taylor Hackford, Bruce Cohen and Dan Jinks, virtually the entire cast of Cold Case, and Jerry O’Connell with a pregnant Rebecca Romijn -- from the doorstep. It ended with West Hollywood city councilman John Duran saying, “I now pronounce you legally married.” Barclay says, “I began to smile so wide I thought my face would break. It didn’t, but we were pelted by real rice (which hurts a little, by the way). The flowers that adorned our little waterfall in the backyard are now planted in the ground. Symbolism? Uh, yeah.”