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50 First Marriages: One Person, One Partner

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As Proposition 8 in California was ruled unconstitutional, I was reminded of my own first two marriages.

My husband Mike and I have been together for 19 years this year. We were legally married in Provincetown, Mass. in 2004. This wasn't our first marriage, however. But there were no divorces in between -- we were never married to anyone else. And the other 49 marriages we intend to have will be the same: one state at a time.

Does this statement sound like a riddle? The truth is, we were religiously wed under Reform Judaism in the fall of 2000. Our family and friends joined us, and for us it was a romantic, emotional, affectionate, and spiritual day. Under Reform Judaism, all we had to do was agree to raise our dog Jewish, and we assured the rabbi that she would have a "Bark Mitzvah." For us, though, this marriage was also political. We wanted to be a part of the process of legalizing marriage for gays by participating as it unfolds. As in the movie, 50 First Dates, we're intending to hold 49 more first marriages -- one state at a time.

In Michigan, where we live, our Massachusetts wedding license is not legally recognized, so when we returned, our marriage was void. We didn't let that stop us from getting married, though, because we love each other and want to commit to one another as much as we can.

At town hall, we decided to just go in quietly and complete the paperwork. Everyone behind the counter immediately congratulated us. So much for keeping a low profile! We were ushered to a room where a lesbian couple from New York was filling out the same forms. They were very nice, and all four of us laughed and joked about how this felt so adult, so "grown up."

When Mike and I turned in the paperwork for our marriage license, pride and honor overwhelmed me. We fell in love with each other all over again. Just as when we married religiously before, now doing it again legally brings back the romantic times of our early experience together.

Marriage is a way to re-romanticize your relationship!

We were so excited about this political adventure now turning into an emotional and romantic one again that we decided to buy more rings. Yes, gay men and jewelry jokes aside, we decided that our initial bands had been engagement rings. Now, our diamond rings from our religious ceremony would become our formal religious rings, and our new rings would be our legal rings. We're making up gay etiquette as we go along.

Entering the jewelry store where we found what we wanted, we discovered that newspapers around Massachusetts had nicknamed this store "the Gay Tiffany's." A couple who had been together for 52 years had bought their rings here, and appeared on Good Morning America, as did these jewelers who sold them the rings. The jewelers showed us the couple's photo and pictures of others who bought rings from their store and married in P-town. I actually started crying as I looked at the picture of these two men who waited 52 years to make it legal! Then when they took our picture, I was filled with pride and honor.

After we bought the rings, we now had to wait three days for the license to become official and meanwhile find ourselves a minister, which we did. The day came. We took photos going to town hall, going in, picking up our license, and coming back down the stairs holding our license. I have to tell you that holding that piece of paper meant so much to us.

We met the minister, who then married us. A lesbian couple and their friends cheered us on as we kissed, following the minister's prompting.

It felt right. It was right. It is a right!

We were applauded at shows when asked by lesbian comics Kate Clinton and Margaret Cho and a drag queen (who did a really great Cher!) if anyone got married while in P-town.

And there we were, legally married. For the remaining two days of our trip, we were legal kin!
Getting married was a politically and romantically joyous experience. I cannot wait for our next 49 chances.