The First Six Months

This is my first purely professional blog post - that is, a post about my company, It's About Time. I often have a lot to say so hopefully this will come easily. I will start at the beginning of the story of how I became a gay wedding planner and will proceed chronologically - but probably interject current stuff as well as stories of my own wedding planning, in between.

Five years and two months ago, on November 18, 2003, I was in my car driving towards the Forest Hills T stop, listening to NPR. There was a news bulletin about a forthcoming ruling later that day on the Goodridge v. the Massachusetts Department of Public Health case to remove the state's ban on same-sex marriage. At the time, I was three days removed from a Caribbean holiday with my girlfriend of three years (and a few weeks away from ending that relationship, but that's another story...), and tightly gripped the wheel in excitement.

I went to the office and glued myself to Boston.com and GLAD.org, waiting for the verdict to come. Sometime around 11am, in my cramped little office with a view of a brick wall, I heard the news that the state may not "deny the protections, benefits and obligations conferred by civil marriage to two individuals of the same sex who wish to marry." The verdict indicated that these marriages could take effect in six months, on May 18, 2004.

My job (that I mostly disliked) in downtown Boston was a few blocks from the State House. There were almost daily rallies in support of or opposed to gay marriage because, within that six month period, those who opposed gay marriage tried in vain to preemptively ban it through a Constitutional amendment. I would frequently take long "lunches" to attend these rallies, listening to moving stories from former Senator Dianne Wilkerson, Rep. Byron Rushing and other leaders, standing alongside couples together twenty or thirty years, hoping they can one day marry.

I was inspired. And I didn't like my job. And I knew I was good at event planning, frequently called "calm." Somehow I had the bright idea that I should start a gay wedding planning firm. It was honestly a "light bulb" moment. And those who know me well know that when I get fixated on an idea, I make it happen.

So, I recruited a business partner who knew a thing or two about weddings, bought an ebook on how to plan a wedding, did lots of online research on venues and questions to ask vendors. My business partner got us a logo. I got us a website and immediately set up Google Adwords, and miraculously, by March or so, I was the co-owner of a business called It's About Time.

 

On May 17, 2004, at midnight, the City of Cambridge, Massachusetts became the first city in the first state in the entire United States to issue legal marriage licenses to gay couples. And that is the primary reason that, to this day, I frequently take my clients to Cambridge to get their very own.

In that time, there was a constitutional amendment approved by the Massachusetts legislature, one that would ban gay marriages and create civil unions. Fortunately for us here in Massachusetts, it's not easy to change the state constitution, and for complicated political reasons I'm not going to get into here, the constitution remained exactly the same.
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