My dear friends Jeff Weinstein and John Perreault met in San Diego in the fall of 1976. By December they knew they were a couple. Some thirty years later, as same-sex marriage was being legalized, tentatively, a state at a time, I asked Jeff if he and John were considering getting hitched. (They didn’t need to register–they already had collected many, enviable sets of amazing vintage dishes.)
He replied, “Robin. John and I aren’t just not straight–we’re not straight.” I totally understood. “Mark and I aren’t bourgeois either, none of our friends are conventional. But you and John are the ones who have already been together way longer than the life expectancy of most marriages.”
Subsequently deciding that it was the most radical thing that could then be done to advance gay rights (and the most romantic), Jeff and John were married on December 6, 2008 in the parlor of one of their favorite retreats, The Carpe Diem Guesthouse in Provincetown, MA, by Rachel Peters, a local cop (and justice of the peace).
As Jeff and John read their vows and Walt Whitman poems to each other and moved the simple platinum bands they’d long worn from the fourth finger of their right hands, to the “married” finger, Marvin, Dorothy, Mark and I wept.
I wept today too, when our less-than-stellar Supreme Court struck down DOMA, making Jeff and John, other good friends, acquaintances and a nation of loving gay couples eligible for 1,138 federal rights that heterosexual couples take for granted. Now the Obama administration must move quickly to change the language of the statutes.
Proposition 8 also fell. I had secretly harbored a peculiar, paradoxical debt of gratitude to the crazies who had originally put it on the ballot and then challenged the ruling by The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit that struck it down (on the grounds that Prop 8 violates equal protection under the law and therefore is unconstitutional). Had same-sex marriage been legal in California in 2008, Jeff an John would have returned there to wed. And as I’m on my personal no-fly list, I would have missed that wonderful day.