We were even on the Today Show talking about the economic benefit of gay weddings:
NY1 and the BBC!
Jen and I were in New York last weekend looking at neighborhoods and trying to figure out the best place to raise Patrick (and possibly another kid!). It's an exciting time for us and we appreciate your support of our journey!
Lots of love-
Bernadette, Jen and Patrick
The couple just sued the inn, because they learned that Vermont has an anti-discrimination law making it illegal to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. 21 U.S. states have such a law and 29 do not. That means that in states such as Georgia, Florida and Texas, it's perfectly legal for a business to discriminate against you of sexual orientation and/or gender identity. To find out the deal in your state, click here or call the Lambda Legal help desk.
Why should you care? Well, you may be gay wedding planning in New York or elsewhere and it's important to know your rights. A New York town clerk already resigned rather than issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The law in New York barely passed. And while New York City is very progressive and great for gay wedding planning, it's a BIG state and you should be careful when you're planning your gay wedding.
Come out of the closet right away when calling vendors - even the ones you find through an online gay wedding directory or through google ads. You never know who will answer the phone. Only hire people who give you a good vibe, who you feel like will have your back. There's no reason that you should be treated any differently than straight couples.
Have you encountered any issues when calling vendors during your wedding planning?
Now that same-sex marriage is legal in New York, I think it's time to revisit this important topic. Ron Meyers will be the attorney to whom we refer our New York gay wedding clients. Ron has been helping LGBT couples protect their families for more than 10 years.
Here are the top five ways to protect your LGBT family:
1. Health Care Proxies - so you can visit your spouse or partner in the hospital when you are in a state where same-sex marriage is not recognized.
2. Durable Power of Attorney - so you can make decisions on behalf of your partner or spouse beyond state lines when you are in a state where same-sex marriage is not recognized.
3. Wills - to define your family and protect your assets should one of you pass
4. Trusts - used as an alternative to a will, so your estate can be handled privately, rather than in court, should one of you pass and have family who does not support your same-sex marriage or relationship.
5. Second parent adoption - if you have a child, so both parents have legal guardianship to the child or children if you are in a state where same-sex marriage is not recognized.
Both Claire and Ron can help with all of these five ways to protect your family and I enthusiastically encourage you to give them a call!
Photo by Gretje Ferguson
For the past year or so, we've been collecting data about gay weddings by surveying hundreds of engaged and newlywed same-sex couples from around the U.S. Our survey is closing on Friday! Please help us wrap up by answering these 12 questions - it'll only take a couple of minutes, is completely confidential - and then you can enter to win a $100 iTunes gift card!
The survey link is here - please complete and share!
Photo by Michael Manning
Here are the top five most commonly read readings at gay weddings in Boston, New York and throughout New England, based on my experience witnessing hundreds of gay wedding ceremonies:
5. Corinthians, from the Bible. This may surprise many of you but it's an oldie but goodie...
If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.
4. From Touched by an Angel, by Maya Angelou:
We, unaccustomed to courage
exiles from delight
live coiled in shells of loneliness
until love leaves its high holy temple
and comes into our sight
to liberate us into life.
and in its train come ecstasies
old memories of pleasure
ancient histories of pain.
Yet if we are bold,
love strikes away the chains of fear
from our souls.
We are weaned from our timidity
In the flush of love's light
we dare be brave
And suddenly we see
that love costs all we are
and will ever be.
Yet it is only love
which sets us free.
3. Excerpt from Song of the Open Road, by Walt Whitman, our celebrated gay writer:
I do not offer the old smooth prizes,
But offer rough new prizes,
These are the days that must happen to you:
You shall not heap up what is called riches,
You shall scatter with lavish hand all that you earn or achieve.
However sweet the laid-up stores,
However convenient the dwellings,
You shall not remain there.
However sheltered the port,
And however calm the waters,
You shall not anchor there.
However welcome the hospitality that welcomes you
You are permitted to receive it but a little while
Afoot and lighthearted, take to the open road,
Healthy, free, the world before you,
The long brown path before you,
leading wherever you choose.
Say only to one another:
Camerado, I give you my hand!
I give you my love, more precious than money,
I give you myself before preaching or law:
Will you give me yourself?
Will you come travel with me?
Shall we stick by each other as long as we live?
2. The Art of Marriage, author unknown
A good marriage must be created.
In the art of marriage the little things are the big things –-
It is never being too old to hold hands.
It is remembering to say ‘I love you’ at least once each day.
It is never going to sleep angry.
It is having a mutual sense of values and common objectives.
It is standing together facing the world.
It is forming a circle of love that gathers in the whole family.
It is speaking words of appreciation and demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways.
It is having the capacity to forgive and forget.
It is giving each other an atmosphere in which each can grow.
It is finding room for the things of the spirit.
It is a common search for the good and the beautiful.
It is not only marrying the right partner –-
It is being the right partner.
1. Excerpt from the Goodridge v The Massachusetts Department of Public Health ruling (written by Judge Margaret Marshall) that first legalized gay marriage in Massachusetts:
Marriage is a vital social institution. The exclusive commitment of two individuals to each other nurtures love and mutual support; it brings stability to our society. For those who choose to marry, and for their children, marriage provides an abundance of legal, financial, and social benefits. In return it imposes weighty legal, financial, and social obligations....Without question, civil marriage enhances the "welfare of the community." It is a "social institution of the highest importance." ...
Marriage also bestows enormous private and social advantages on those who choose to marry. Civil marriage is at once a deeply personal commitment to another human being and a highly public celebration of the ideals of mutuality, companionship, intimacy, fidelity, and family.... Because it fulfils yearnings for security, safe haven, and connection that express our common humanity, civil marriage is an esteemed institution, and the decision whether and whom to marry is among life's momentous acts of self-definition.
What readings are you having at your gay wedding ceremony?
When does gay marriage go into effect in New York?
The law goes into effect on July 24 but that date is a Sunday. The New York City marriage bureau will be open on Sunday to accept applications and judges will be on hand to waive the 24 hour waiting period to marry, and also to officiate ceremonies on that same day, July 24. Binghamton and Syracuse city halls will also be open on the 24th. It is unclear whether those cities will have judges on hand to waive the 24 hour wait and perform ceremonies.
To the best of our knowledge, only New York City is making it possible for couples to legally marry on July 24. Couples looking to marry in other parts of the state can begin having marriage ceremonies on July 26, 2011.
Do I have to live in New York to get married there?
No, anyone can apply for a marriage license in New York State. There is no residency requirement but you must be unmarried and 18 years or older.Where can I apply for a marriage license?
You can apply at any city or town clerk's office in the state of New York. Both partners must be present. Couples can apply online through the City of New York as early as July 5. Couples who apply in person can apply beginning Monday, July 25.
Is a blood test required?
Is there a waiting period to get the marriage license?
There is not a waiting period to get the license - you receive it right away.
How soon after applying for a license can I get legally married?
24 hours or more.
Are there witnesses required in order to get legally married?
One witness 18 or older is required.
How much is the marriage license application fee?
Outside of New York City, the fee is $40. In NYC, the fee is $35.
How long is the marriage license valid for?
Can I apply online for a marriage license?
Yes, you can, in New York City, but both partners must still go in person to pick up the marriage license.
What paperwork is required when I apply for my marriage license?
This varies by the city or town in which you apply. In New York City, you can bring a driver's license or passport and be fine. Elsewhere you may be asked for two things: Either a birth certificate OR a baptismal record OR a naturalization record OR a Census record AND a driver's license OR a passport OR a work ID with photo OR an immigration record.Who can officiate the marriage ceremony?
The mayor of a city or village; the former mayor, city clerk, or deputy city clerk of a city with 1 million+ residents; a marriage officer appointed by the town or village board; a justice or judge; a village, town or county justice; a member of the clergy authorized to perform marriage ceremonies.
If I don't live in New York, will my marriage be recognized by my home state?
It depends on where you live, but in most cases, probably not. It will be recognized in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Iowa, California, New Mexico, Maryland and D.C.
Is my New York gay marriage recognized by the U.S. federal government?
Unfortunately, no it is not.
If I get legally married in New York, will I still need special legal paperwork to protect my family?
Yes, if you plan to travel with your partner beyond New York state, it will be necessary for you to hire an attorney to draw up paperwork to protect your family in case something happens in a state where your marriage is not recognized. You will need a Health Care Proxy, a Durable Power of Attorney and a will or trust.
How do I change my name?
You'll be asked your new last name on the marriage application. Once you receive your official copy of your marriage license, you can use that document to change your name on social security card, driver's license etc, if you live in the state of New York. If you live out of state, and in a state where your marriage is not legally recognized, it's much harder and will, in most cases, require a judge's order.
Check out the screen shot below and the full shoot over on the blog!
It's wedding season! Time to review the most popular trends I am seeing in all the gay weddings we've been planning!
1) Use of candles instead of floral for decor. Candles en masse are totally popular right now. Clustered candles as centerpieces. Floating candles. Candleabras. A series of pillars clustered. And we are using LED candles if real candles aren't allowed. LED candles have come a long way and make this design element even more appealing.
2) Two aisles for the ceremony continues to be a hot trend. This gives each bride or each groom their own space - they love the two becomes one metaphor and of course, it's another place perfect for decorations. Love it - very hot!
3) Branding the wedding. Same-sex couples are going the extra mile to personalize their wedding and working with a graphic designer to make everything branded in their wedding monogram or logo is totally popular. Everything from the save the date to the menu card to the place card to the favors are branded with the couple's wedding art (see photo of Meg and Sarah's branded wedding)
4) Wedding weekends. Three day weddings are super hot right now - if you think about it, having all your nearest and dearest in one place doesn't happen very often. We are going beyond the rehearsal dinner and the brunch to really planning full on group activities for three consecutive days. It's fun for everyone and guarantees a memorable experience!
5) Cupcakes. I hate to say it because I'm getting sick of them, but cupcakes are still super popular. They are a trend that doesn't seem to be going away as bakers find more and more ways to make cupcakes unique, personal and artistic. We are seeing cupcake flavors bring in the couple's personality as well - flavors beyond just chocolate and vanilla, but really anything you can imagine!
(photo by Ilene Perlman)
Are you using any of these trends in your gay wedding?
Destiny New York provides all couples need for a beautiful, elegant wedding ceremony including:
- In person assistance applying for your marriage license
- A luxury wedding concierge to coordinate your wedding experience
- A town car to drive the engaged couple around Manhattan during your wedding experience
- Officiant to officiate your wedding ceremony
- Personal flowers - two boutonnieres or two bouquets, or one of each
- Petite wedding cake that serves up to 20
- Up to two hours of professional, photojournalistic-style photography coverage (ceremony and portraits), plus one disc of high resolution images
- Dinner reservations at a nearby fine dining restaurant of your choice the evening of your wedding, or dinner arranged inside the club's private dining room (excluding food and beverage expenses)
- 5 hours of professional wedding planning
- Access to our members-only rate at a private club where your ceremony can be held
- Unlimited referrals to other arrangements not limited to but including: spa reservations; videography; hotels and more
The Destiny New York package is now available for booking for dates anytime after gay marriages begin on June 25!
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- Delaware Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage
- Scouting the Field - Great Venues in NYC for a Gay Wedding
- Civil Unions are Legal in Colorado
- Family Equality Night at the Pier Fundraiser
- Rhode Island Legalizes Gay Marriage
- How to Plan a Gay Wedding
- SCOTUS and Same-Sex Marriage
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