As WorldPride NYC Weekend kicks off, there is so much to reflect on and celebrate as a community. Fifty years ago there was an uprising that began a lifelong movement. But we also have two other important anniversaries to celebrate this weekend. It was eight years ago that gay marriage became legal here in the great state of New York, and four years ago it passed on the national level. Each time I couldn’t believe the news was breaking over pride weekend. And looking back, I am so incredibly grateful of how this movement informed my career path. Eight years ago I was a budding wedding planner, and when the news broke in New York, I had an idea to begin a book that would just be for our community. Four years ago I was working for two grooms here in New York and when the national ruling came out, we added pride flags for them to march with after they said “I Do” to celebrate that everyone in this country now had the Freedom to Marry. We intercut the beautiful words from President Obama’s historic speech with their first dance. It has been incredibly meaningful to work with so many same-sex couples on planning their nuptials. It’s also been endlessly fascinating as weddings look different on each couple, and their reasons to enter into marriage are diverse. So in honor of these important anniversaries this weekend, I decided to check back in with some of these incredible couples to see where they’re at as we all celebrate Pride.
RORY AND GEROLD
Looking back, it’s amazing to think that we had to get married in NYC because it wasn’t yet legal in our home states of Ohio and Indiana. In just five short years so much has changed in the country and in our personal lives now that we have a baby boy! We are so grateful that we were able to celebrate our union surrounded by family. Their support on the journey to become parents started that day when they witnessed us make a lifelong commitment. A wedding is a powerful statement to a couple’s community that they are ready to support each other and sparks their community to begin supporting them too!
JORDAN AND ROBERT
When we stood under the Chuppah one year ago during Pride weekend, it was easy to forget how the Blessing of Choice that we took would have not been legal just a few years ago. It’s amazing to have our anniversary fall in the context of such a historic time--from Selma to Stonewall and on the shoulders of giants like Obergefell and Windsor. Our union is thus a small piece of the patchwork of the arc of the moral universe bending towards justice, fairness and equality.
RYAN AND ALEK
Gay pride is a rainbow of celebrations, but it’s also a moment of solace and contemplation for those who have traveled the steps before us and honoring their journeys. As well as looking forward to the battles still to be won. Being married for two years, Pride for us is about journeying together on this day, holding hands tightly and celebrating together with our friends the power of love and equality while acknowledging that though we are fortunate to live in a time and place where we have the right to be married, there is still so much work to be done to obtain full equal rights for our community here and around the world.
BRIAN AND JOHN
As we approach Pride and the 4th year anniversary of same-sex marriage becoming legal in the U.S., it feels amazing to be married to the man that I love. Marriage is a privilege and a right that should be equal amongst all citizens of our country. It is something that we fought for, should not be taken for granted, and should always cherish. I feel I have my “happily ever after” and should be free to love whom I love. Happy Pride!
DI AND RISA
In a precarious world, our love is a great comfort. To have been able to celebrate that love without persecution and to have it recognized by the state is an inspiration to advocate for the freedom of all people. If we can’t use our relative safety and privileges to do that, if the comfort of our love doesn’t provide us with a stable base from which to fight for everyone, then what’s the point?
JUSTIN AND BRAD
We were a couple living in NYC who had been together for many years and we knew we wanted to get married. We were lucky enough to win the "lottery" to be married on the first day it became legal in NY - Sunday, July 24, 2011. We had received a call by Christine Quinn herself notifying us only 48 hours prior. We knew we wanted to put together a fabulous party but obviously didn't have a lot of time to prepare. We knew we wanted to have our wedding at our club, Soho House New York, and they put us in touch with Jason Mitchell who was running events there at the time and was about to embark on his same-sex wedding planning career. It was a match made in heaven. I think because he was really passionate about what was happening for gay rights at the time, his mind went into overdrive and he dropped everything to help us plan the most fabulous evening. We will be forever grateful to him and he has really become a lifelong friend. Everyone who helped us including the florist, cake baker, and band went really above and beyond to make us feel special, accepted, and loved. Jason really pulled it off and we had a night we will never forget. It's been 8 years now and we still love telling this story. It feels special to be a very small part of the history of gay rights. I am really thankful to have met Jason during the early part of his career and to have had the opportunity to watch him help all of the gay couple's who's lives he has touched through the years.
CARL AND JOHN
Don't know what to say except how quickly time has flown by and how lucky we are to live in the time that we do and to have found one another.
DREW AND DANE
Our marriage is the most important relationship for both of us, and this fact was evident at our wedding celebration four years ago, surrounded by so many of our closest friends and family and curated by Jason. We are so grateful that our marriage and our lives are fully recognized under the law and even more grateful for those who fought for our rights past, present and future. We never want to take our blessings for granted.
BEN AND WENDELL
As a kid I never dreamed I’d be able to get married to the man I loved someday. I now often think about gay kids and I’m so glad that they’ll never have to feel like their dream of being married isn’t a possibility. We still have so much to fight for, but the legal rights of marriage isn’t one of them. Equality is so important.
EVAN AND DAVID
We were at Stonewall the night DOMA was struck down because we and all of our friends wanted to celebrate this historical moment. So much has improved for our community since then but there’s so much more work to be done, especially with the rise of this oppressive Administration and their assault on our rights. We’re more committed than ever to stand up and fight for the rights of all minorities.
MARNI AND CASEY
As I look back, I consider being a lesbian, married to another woman with kids... I feel visible and relatively accepted in most social spaces. I am honored to have married before the law passed because of the extra steps we needed to take in order to show the validity of our relationship. We are stronger for it. Love wins!
DOUGLAS AND JASON
I don't think we fully realized how much marriage actually meant to us until we stood in front of our friends and family, balling our eyes out, feeling lucky to have found each other and grateful to stand on the shoulders of those that fought for our right to love 50 years ago. On our first pride as a married couple, we are so happy to be together, and feel compelled to continue the fight and, of course, demonstrate that we are just as boring as straight married couples.
JOEL AND MIKE
It’s interesting going into World Pride and the 50th anniversary of Stonewall having been married for 5 years now. It gives you a fresh sense of perspective. We openly live our lives as married gay men among our entire families, friends, coworkers, and community; and, at 5 years in, as the newness of our marriage wears off and comfort sets in, it’s easy to take it all for granted. The normalcy is both comforting and disconcerting. The things we enjoy are the things that people have fought for decades to achieve, and also far from achieved elsewhere in the world. We’re proud of our marriage, our love, the progress the country and society have made in the past few years. Yet, we are likewise aware that there is still much to do, and that it’s our responsibility now to pay it forward.
DOUG AND JOEL
We just feel so incredibly fortunate to be able to celebrate the 50 Anniversary of Stonewall as a married couple in a time and place where it’s both celebrated and matter of fact to everyone around us. So many people- before and since Stonewall- never had this opportunity. So many fought for it and some still are fighting for it. We’re happy and grateful to celebrate and wish everyone a Happy World Pride and collective Happy Anniversary!
MARC AND DANIEL
On this 50th anniversary of Stonewall , I am so very proud: of an America where it’s much safer and freer to be LGBTQ (even though we have a wicked president who is doing all he can to turn the clock backward!), of a marriage where I’m so very happy and in love, and of a budding family on the way! Happy Pride, America!
YUVAL AND MARK
2.5 years ago, my husband and I got married. 3.5 years ago we got engaged. And, 1 year before that, we first met. During the beginning of our relationship, Marriage Equality was granted across the nation. We were gifted with the opportunity to be us, openly, lovingly, and celebrate our union with marriage — our LGBTQ+ community was not granted that opportunity before. We do not take that for granted. We proudly celebrate our love, and continue the battles for full equality, rights, and protection under the law for the LGBTQ+ community. We have come far, but we have so much further to go. As we say, love is love. Every act of love develops the next act of love.
KATIE AND LILLA
Pride has always been one of our favorite weekends of the year to spend together - the sense of joy and belonging can be so hard to find in the world as a queer human and while there’s still so much work to do we are so lucky to be able to celebrate this Pride as a married couple with the community that has always made us feel safe and loved
JASON AND CHRISTOPHER
Growing up, the idea of being married was never a reality for me, but thanks to the strength, fortitude, and pride that is so entrenched in our community, it is now, and I get to look at my husband every day and witness how love always wins. Being able to have the man that I love by my side and the fight the community has fought for me to be able to do so is something I will never take for granted.
ERIC AND CHASE
On my birthday 4 years ago, the US Supreme Court recognized same-sex marriage as a fundamental human right. This past February I got to marry my best friend - and just 2 days ago I realized that 2015 decision is going to be one of the best gifts I’ve ever been given and one that I get to celebrate meaningfully each and every year, thanks to all who fought proudly then, before and still today.
MARK AND LARRY
Having not just a variation or notion of a marriage but actually having a recognized and blessed marriage validates that our love is not just a notion and that our relationship is not just a unimportant variation of what one should be. Our marriage has been/is a daily testament to our family, friends, and the world that our love is an equally, if not more, authentic, beautiful, and indispensable union than any other - and we are so proud to see it change the hearts of those around us for the better.
JEFFERY AND AUGIE
I really really love being married. It turns love into family in the best (and sometimes worst but mostly best) of ways.