Couple: Mark G. & Scott C.
Married At: San Francisco, CA
Date Married: March 11th, 2004
Where They Live: California
Our Wedding Story:
We're the creaters of 7,000 Strong, a place for all the gay and lesbian couples who got married between February 12th and April 19th, 2004 to share our stories.
When we made our marriage license appointment on the San Francisco website to get our marriage license, we didn’t know we’d be among the last gay and lesbian couples to be married in San Francisco before the California Supreme Court issued a stay blocking any additional gay & lesbian weddings.
The most amazing thing about the appointment was the normality of it all. We walked in, gave them our names, and filled out a form. There was no fire and brimstone, no strange looks, just congratulations all around from other happy couples. The ceremony was short, but had a lot of meaning for the two of us, and we’re especially grateful to the volunteer witness who gave up some of his own time to be there for couples like us.
We had been talking about marriage for some time, especially since Newsom ordered the county clerk’s office to start issuing same sex marriage licenses on February 12th. There are a lot of emotional issues surrounding a decision like this one, for any couple. But for gay couples, it goes beyond the decision to tie the knot. For us, especially at this time, we had to think about the legal ramifications would this marriage stand up in court? Would it invalidate our existing California Domestic Partner rights?
You’re suddenly thrust into a situation where you have to defer some of your wedding dreams. There was no time to invite our families, no time to plan the kind of ceremony we ultimately want to have to celebrate this great event in our lives.
We had originally planned to wait to get married until the state worked out the legality of the whole issue. We had all these dreams about what our wedding day would be like how would we propose - heck, who would propose to whom? Who would be up there beside us on the big day? What romantic place would we find to hold the event?
But as the days after February 11th went by and more and more couples were married around the country, we eventually felt compelled to take action. We wanted to be a part of what was going on. We never really thought the day would come for a long time, it seemed like we’d be lucky if we got civil unions. But once you have a shot at the real thing it’s hard to go back to second-class status, and for that, no matter what the end result, we're eternally grateful to Gavin Newsom.
We met in 1992 at the Pacific Center in Berkeley - every Monday, the center held a gay men's rap night, where three or four topics would be posted, and the men there would divide up into groups to discuss the topic of their choice. Our topic was "Breaking Up is Hard to Do" - Scott was in the middle of a break-up with his boyfriend, and Mark had recently lost a partner to AIDS. On the way out of the building, Scott asked Mark to talk over coffee, and two weeks later, we were living together. We've been committed to one another ever since, and just celebrated our 12th anniversary.
We're cautiously optimistic about the upcoming California Supreme Court ruling, and hope that the Court will ultimately see this issue for what it is discrimination against a large group of Americans that serves no reasonable purpose.
We were incredibly lucky - we went online Wednesday night to make the appointment at city hall, and there was a slot open for Thursday at 9 am. We were expecting to go in a couple weeks, but instead we were up at 6 in the morning, on our way to our 9 o’clock appointment. We got our license, and were out the doors of city hall before 11 AM, just hours before the Supreme Court shut down the weddings.
It must have been fate.