Co-written with Bryan Eure
One year ago today, we were finally legally married in our home state of New York. Seven years beforehand, we had a commitment ceremony to ensure that we had at least some of the rights, protections and responsibilities in the eyes of the law -- not ever imagining that marriage would be an open option to us in our lifetime.
On the night that Governor Andrew Cuomo signed our state's marriage equality bill into law, we immediately began planning our wedding -- why wait any longer? The goal was to make it a big celebration, albeit one with a message, and we pulled the wedding together fast with the help of dear and amazing friends. We started with a "traditional" wedding and took out the parts that two guys don't really care about -- dresses, flowers, diamonds, cakes -- and focused on great music, great food and of course great friends. We also focused on making it more than just about us, than about one couple. It was important from the get-go to have a big party to celebrate our union -- but also that showed the power of equality in New York, and to encourage gay and lesbian couples and their family and friends in the 44 states that don't allow people to marry who they love -- and to spotlight that inequality through the press.
It was the best night of our lives and we wanted to share it with as many of our family and friends as possible. We literally squeezed 750 people into the iconic Four Seasons Restaurant with the goal of making sure one thing happened: that everyone had fun. The night was about celebrating not only our union and the law passing in New York, but bringing awareness that only six states in this great country allow a couple like us to get married. Our dear friend, David Boies, (who along with Ted Olsen is successfully fighting Prop 8 in California -- and to the Supreme Court), honored us, and this national effort, by securing the license and marrying us. Thanks to our dear friend Clive Davis, Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, sang an hour of her music that she wanted to focus on -- love (like "Baby I Love You," and "I Will Always Love You") and civil rights (for example "Think," "Respect" and "Chain of Fools").
We have the most supportive family, a unit that includes relatives and friends that we never take for granted. Georgette Mosbacher, part of our family, hosted our rehearsal dinner in her home for over 150 people. While having dinner prior to the wedding with David and Mary Boies we were discussing our vows, Mary asked us "Are your parents supporting this?" We looked at each other like "duh, of course" but then realized a lot of same-sex couples are not blessed with this kind of support. Mary suggested instead of having groomsmen or best men that we have our parents stand by our side. It made the ceremony so special to us one set of parents are in their eighties and the other in their sixties. Looking back a year later, we are thankful to our amazing and extended family. Everyone in the room, predominantly straight, was incredibly supportive -- we were blown away by the shared level of excitement.
While we are not activists -- at least not in the traditional sense, we realize that a gay wedding can be seen as a political statement. It's a political issue, and rightfully so. For our part, we were thrilled that the night became less about us and more about helping people understand that "gay" marriage is no different from "traditional" marriage.
One year later, as we reflect on the state of the nation regarding this issue, we hope that those that were opposed to the law passing in New York can take a step back and ask themselves if this law changed their lives personally? Has anyone been hurt? We would imagine there has been zero impact.
As we reflect back on our magical night and 365 days as legally married spouses, the Defense of Marriage Act promises to be front and center in the next Congress and before the Supreme Court. Whichever man wins in two weeks has the power to hold the happiness and equal standing of millions of committed American couples in his hands. We hope that each leader will lead the way as our great Governor Andrew Cuomo has done here in New York.
And, when the Defense of Marriage Act is finally stripped away, when millions of couples who want what their friends, relatives, neighbors and, finally, we have -- we promise to throw an even bigger party. You are all cordially invited.
God bless these United States of America, which we love so dearly.
More:Bill White New York Marriage Equality Same-sex Marriage Marriage Equality New York Gay Marriage
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