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Gay couples line up to marry on a festive first day

They met on a blind date in Alaska a dozen years ago, and it was love at first sight. As they tell it, theirs has since been an epic, storybook romance.

click to enlarge THE LOOK:  David Robinson (right) beams up at his now-spouse Gerald Lindemulder, as Rev. Helen Carroll of SLO’s Unitarian Universalist Fellowship performs their wedding ceremony. - PHOTO BY STEVE E. MILLER
  • Photo by Steve E. Miller
  • THE LOOK: David Robinson (right) beams up at his now-spouse Gerald Lindemulder, as Rev. Helen Carroll of SLO’s Unitarian Universalist Fellowship performs their wedding ceremony.
So on Tuesday, June 17, they went to the SLO County Government Center, got a marriage license, and, walking just 20 yards away, met with Rev. Helen Carroll to exchange their vows, intertwining their hands with such force as they promised to love and cherish that their knuckles were white.

But this story, as the reader already knows, isn’t just about one couple or their love.

With their act, at about 8:15 a.m., David Robinson and Gerald Lindemulder became the first gay couple to become married in San Luis Obispo County under the state Supreme Court’s May rejection of a same-sex marriage ban. Once the vows were spoken, a joyful cheer went up from the two dozen people gathered to witness. Some blew bubbles. There was cake, and roses.

There was, however, little time to celebrate; another couple was already waiting in line for their turn.

In all, the SLO Unitarian Universalist minister performed 14 ceremonies in the Government Center that day, while the county issued a total of 31 certificates to same-sex couples, according to County Clerk-Recorder Julie Rodewald.

“No matter how you feel about same-sex marriages, it’s still a historic day,” Rodewald said. “Certainly what we witnessed in here was a great deal of courtesy and respect, a great deal of joy.”

One of the couples who received their license, but postponed the ceremony, was Terre Dunivant and Allyson Nakasone.

For them, it’s a bit of deja vu.

The San Luis Obispo women, already domestic partners, were married in San Francisco four years ago, but their marriage, along with those of others similarly married, was annulled by law. It was a challenge to that action that led to the court’s dismissal of the ban.

Now they say that they’ll head back up to San Francisco for another ceremony.

click to enlarge SEALED WITH A:   … kiss. - PHOTO BY STEVE E. MILLER
  • Photo by Steve E. Miller
  • SEALED WITH A: … kiss.
“We just want equality, that’s it,” Dunivant said. “A lot of people say ‘special rights.’ No, that’s not it. We just want the same rights.”

Is she worried about having this marriage reversed also? (A constitutional amendment is headed for the ballot in November.)

Not really, Dunivant said. She said that society in general is more comfortable with gay couples than when Proposition 22, a ban on gay marriages, was approved in 2000. She said that she also expects voters to be skeptical of the motives behind out-of-state organizations leading the push.

For her part, after performing 14 weddings in one day, Carroll sat down and did a little math. She found that the couples she married Tuesday had been together a total of more than 250 years.

“Isn’t that awesome!” she said. “I performed 14 weddings, and 28 people cried at their weddings. I was just reminded one more time how powerful it is to marry someone, how powerful marriage is.”

As the newlywed Robinson put it, in the moments after his wedding ceremony: “I have a feeling of how proud I am to be a resident of California, to be a citizen of a state where people care enough about us as people to grant us this freedom. I’m proud of this state.”

 



Managing Editor Patrick Howe can be reached at phowe@newtimesslo.com.

 

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