Alex & Sean Get Married in New York City

Flipping the bird to New Jersey

Alex & Sean got married yesterday. As close to home as they could make it, and still be legal. They said their vows on a beautiful boat sailing around New York City. Cruising close to New Jersey, both grooms and many of the guests climbed up topside and gave New Jersey the finger. (Photo courtesy Jeff Tureaud, candidshotphoto.com)

Don’t get the wrong idea. Alex & Sean love New Jersey. So do I. So do their guests, especially the ones who live here, as Alex & Sean do. But they’re disappointed in their state, where their commitment to each other is recognized only as a thing apart, not quite what it is.

At Blue Jersey, we mostly report about marriage equality, not so much actual weddings. (Why is that?) But I was lucky enough to be invited to this wedding, and both the grooms are members of the Blue Jersey community. So for me, ME will forever be about Alex and Sean, who have loved each other for 13 years, and waited most of this time for the law to catch up to their own jubilant love.

Alex & Sean's weddingI love weddings. And this one was spectacular. Vows topside on a yacht, under sunny skies the color of the water. Both grooms escorted by family to cheers from all of us as they came upstairs into the top deck sunlight. Marriage vows warm and personal. Guests gay and straight. Present, a same-sex couple just married in New York this week, at our table another getting hitched on Thursday. Even a proposal on board. “A rainbow tsunami of love,” one guest called it.

When Garden State Equality lobbied state senators in the runup to their crushing 2010 No vote, part of the case made was economic.

A few years ago, the Williams Institute at UCLA projected $248 million in spending in NJ if we gained marriage equality before surrounding states. Our friend Jack Bohrer did a great job illustrating how that might impact tourism in destination Atlantic City, still struggling with revenue loss and hotel layoffs. At this point, with NY and destination NYC getting the jump on us, we can only guess at the money flowing across the Hudson from family-minded Jersey couples. And those across the country spending their money there, instead of here. With our failure to come in early, we can only guess at the revenue sacrificed.

GayMarriedBut something even bigger is lost. Yesterday, the proprietors of this lovely boat were so excited by their inaugural same-sex wedding, that all the servers were outfitted in different rainbow colors. Spirits were high; it meant something to be there.

There is so much goodwill for Love. And that’s what skittish legislators have missed, the goodwill good people have for happy families and loving couples. Even beyond the loss of wedding revenue, we lose living in a culture of greater acceptance of each other, in celebration of the happiness of our neighbors, in the infectious joy of people pledging forever to the one they love for the world to see. rainbow flowers

So, here’s to the day New Jersey’s decision-makers catch up to her people. Here’s to the day we strengthen marriage itself by recognizing all our families. Here’s to the day when this most extraordinary day in a couple’s life can take place on our turf, or in our waters.

Here’s to Love. And here’s to Alex & Sean. Married October 2, 2011, in New York City.

Disclosure: Yes, I’m on GSE’s board. And Blue Jersey’s all in for Love. Any questions?

 

Comments (6)

  1. Bertin Lefkovic

    While it is not yet possible for same-sex couples to get married in Israel, something that is often difficult for different-sex couples as well, due to the Orthodox movement’s control over rituals, thanks to a court decision a few years ago, same-sex marriages that occur outside of Israel receive the state’s full recognition, equal in every way to different-sex marriages.

    Israel is also one of the few (possibly only, depending on how the Arab Spring shakes itself out over time) countries in the region where being openly gay is not considered a crime, punishable with a violent (by medieval standards) death.

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  2. Jeff Gardner

    Looking forward to (and working toward) the day when your marriage will be fully recognized in the Garden State. Until then, much love! xox 🙂

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  3. Alex

    Rereading Rosi’s diary entry, I’m struck by how well she captures the feelings of a lot of couples who a) were very much involved in the failed legislative effort to pass ME in ’09/’10 and b) have grown weary of waiting for the politics in New Jersey to catch up. With the state next door, a state where so many of us work and play, offering the marriage equality, why wait? Life is too short, after all, and none of us is getting any younger. While ME may be a political football to many politicians and pundits, it’s a matter of dignity, respect and fundamental rights to same-sex couples and their allies. The politicians can wait. Those of us who have fewer years ahead of us than we have behind us cannot.

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  4. Alex

    I had loved reading your diary entry soon after our wedding, Rosi, and because I was posting under an alias at the time (“Aegletes”), felt odd about posting here. Suffice it to say that you nailed it on the head with your description of the day and our gesture of disappointment in New Jersey. I’m glad to see now that some minds have been changed (including at least one senator), other organizations have woken up to the importance of this issue to people close to home (a great union comes to mind), leaving only an intransigent governor standing in the way. After almost fourteen years together, Sean and I had grown tired of waiting and got married in a place we love, New York. But we remain eager for the day when our rights as a married couple are as on solid ground on this side of the Hudson as they are on the other.

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