Photo courtesy of David Webster via NYTimes
Larry Kramer always loves a good political setting, so it seemed like the perfect photo opportunity that he and his longtime partner David Webster were married in the intensive care unit of a New York City hospital last week.
This image ran in the New York Times Vows section on Sunday, a shocking portrait among the other typically happy, smiling couples on the page. It seemed to reinforce the need for laws that protect the rights of same-sex spouses—who are often denied visitation in hospitals—but it wasn't a political staging, the gay right advocate and award-winning playwright of The Normal Heart has been recovering from surgery for a bowel obstruction (he says he's feeling better now).
The couple had originally planned to be legally wed earlier in July on the terrace of their Greenwich Village apartment with Judge Eve Preminger as the officiant, before Kramer’s sudden health issues.
“I had been traveling when Larry went into the hospital,” Webster told the New York Times last week, “and when I was back and he was able to talk, he told me he had invited 20 people to the I.C.U. for the wedding. So it turned into a little party at his bedside.”
According to Webster, the two men exchanged Cartier rings and, instead of vows, "they spoke from the heart." “Why would Larry need a script?” Webster said.
Although the photo supplied by the couple on the day of their wedding shows Kramer in a hospital bed with tubes in his nose, he posed for the cover of Out's 2011 Out100 issue as the father of the bride, looking dapper next to "bridge" Andrej Pejic
Kramer had expressed his skepticism of state laws permitting gay marriage as long as the federal Defense of Marriage Act was in place, referring to such unions as “feel-good marriages” in 2011 because they conveyed few tangible benefits. After the Supreme Court struck down DOMA last month, Kramer, 78, decided it was time to marry, Webster, 66, who is the owner of an architectural design firm that bears his name.
Kramer and Webster dated in the 1970s and have been partners since the mid-1990s. Kramer based central characters in his 1978 novel Faggots on himself and Webster.