Johnny and Sebastian
By Out.com Editors
Sebastian and I had spoken at length before deciding to get married on the first day same sex marriages were deemed legal in NY State. Although he tends to be private and even a bit standoffish by nature, the opportunity to participate in this watershed moment outweighed his usual reluctance to be in the spotlight. And besides, we had already been engaged for over a year. We were in the midst of planning the wedding of our dreams (and we still are) when history just happened. So we decided to grab the opportunity to be part of history.
For me, that Sunday morning at the City Clerk's office in downtown Manhattan can best be summed up as a blur of intense emotions. From the moment we arrived outside the heavily fenced in government building at 6:30 a.m., we could feel the excitement in the air. Not even the extreme heat could dampen the significance of what was about to happen. A few early arriving couples milled about and television crews began setting up their cameras; but the protesters and police who would soon show up where still nowhere to be seen. We started to meet other couples, including two men who had been together for 30+ years. It was both humbling and inspiring to stand with couples who had made such lasting commitments to each other but who had been denied the opportunity to marry until this day. We knew we were benefiting from decades of hard work by brave visionaries who probably had more faith than we did that this day would happen. What made it so special was the sense that we were a part of a collective celebration that everyone in attendance seemed to acknowledge had not come easily. We felt privileged and overwhelmed.
The crowd on Worth Street swelled very quickly with couples, families, friends & supporters, along with increasing numbers of press and police. A handful of protesters were chanting something hateful from across the street, but they were barely audible due to the cheers coming from hoards of volunteers and random well-wishers who shielded and embraced us with rainbow colored umbrellas. It was amazing to see how many people showed up simply to support us and to congratulate hundreds of couples they didn't even know. Sebastian and I were moved by their genuine joy.