Shana Naomi Krochmal and Jessica Maxwell
By Jerry Portwood
Photo: Shana Naomi Krochmal (left) and Jessica Maxwell | credit: Getty Images
With the news that the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals lifted California's ban on same-sex marriages were allowing same-sex weddings once again just three days after the Supreme Court decision last week that supporters of Prop 8 could not defend it before the high court, there was a flurry of activity over the weekend. Our own contributing editor, Shana Naomi Krochmal, waited until Monday, July 1 to pick up her wedding license and legally wed her longtime partner Jessica Maxwell at the Beverly Hills Courthouse.
As Krochmal explained to us, the couple actually met nearly six years to the day when Maxwell attended a house party (read more about it on her Tumblr), but they didn't actually begin to date until six months later, after another party at Krochmal's house. "Then it got pretty serious pretty fast," Krochmal explains. "So we've been together for about five and a half years."
When same-sex weddings began taking place in California in 2008, the two women had only been dating for a couple of months. By the time Prop 8 passed, it had been eight months, "soon enough to know we were serious, but too soon to not feel totally crazy asking her to marry me just because there was going to be an election." So the couple waited, but they did get engaged on their first anniversary, February 2009. At the time, they treated it like a huge celebration, throwing a huge family and friends party—"we had bands play and the cops even showed up"—that was "interrupted" by a wedding ceremony, with a friend officiating who sang a medley of pop song lyrics as their vows. "People started spontaneously singing along!" (See photos from that wedding party here.)
From then on the couple referred to each other as "wife" although it wasn't legal in California. "We felt like we were married," Krochmal explains. "We had gotten domestic partnership paperwork before the wedding."
Maxwell works for Lambda Legal as a development assistant and was aware of the complications their union would face, having to fight to be recognized as spouses. "We counted ourselves as terribly lucky that nothing went wrong and most people treated us like we were married just because we told them so," Krochmal admits.
Krochmal and Maxwell had expected to wait at least 25 days until the court lifted the ban on same-sex weddings in California, but when they discovered on Friday afternoon that they would be allowed they had to act fast. They decided to get a courthouse license as soon as possible and plan a bigger party and festivities later in the year when there was time.
Photo by Chanelle Johnson
In Los Angeles you can only get a license at a county courthouse, so West Hollywood (the couple live in the Eagle Rock neighborhood of Los Angeles) directed them to Beverly Hills. And what about those matching dresses?
"We went to this place in Burbank, Unique Vintage, that has a lot of adorable vintage-looking stuff and tried on a million things," she says. "It was supposed to be in the mid-90s on Monday, and these dresses were the cutest, shiniest, and lightest ones we found that we immediately loved. But this is the one and only time we will ever wear matching dresses!"
Others were in line but the ladies were the only ones in cute gowns so they attracted a lot of media attention, including a Current TV crew. Watch the video below.