Till Court Do Us Part 

Six tales of marital bliss and cruel disappointment.

Page 6 of 9

Were there any rights you hoped to gain from marriage?

Leland: The domestic partnership didn't go far enough. If we had civil unions or domestic partnerships that had all the same rights and responsibilities as marriage, that would be enough. Quite frankly, I don't care what you call it. "Separate but equal" rarely works but oddly enough, I think in this case it would work -- if it really was equal. There's part of me that believes that government should get out of the marriage business completely and only perform civil unions, and marriages should be done by religious institutions. But that's an idea way ahead of its time, as Maude would say -- like liberating canaries from the pet store.

Stewart: We're both big fans of Bill Clinton but still angry at him for actually signing the Defense of Marriage Act. What the fuck are they scared of? I mean, go after The Bachelor and Who Wants to Marry My Dad? and all those stupid reality shows that make a mockery of relationships. Why are they coming after us? We're a stable gay couple who's been together fourteen years. We pay our taxes. We're responsible citizens.

Leland: We volunteer in our community; we help run the schools!

Stewart: And Britney Spears can get married for 55 hours! It's just nuts. Go stop those people!

Did the marriages change anything?

Leland: The fact that everyone in America got to see people get married, and not drag queens and people in thongs -- not to say that they're not part of our community and we don't feel fine about them, but that's not who we all are. They got to see families who look just like their relatives or their friends or themselves.

Stewart: I went into this very pessimistic, I guess, knowing that this was good, this was going to be fun, but I never expected it to last. So when it was taken away, okay. What I have is some very beautiful memories. I still get choked up about it when I think about the day and when I retell the story of all of our friends and our family and our child being there. That's what I have. And nobody can take that away.

Jennifer & Amy
Jennifer Ikemoto, 34, state employee
Amy Bohorquez, 30, Laney College biology instructor
Years Together: 3

Both members of this Oakland couple are mixed-race -- Jennifer is of Chinese, Japanese, and Portuguese descent, and Amy is Colombian and Irish -- and both come from Catholic families in which some members do not approve of homosexuality. A photograph of them getting married made the front page of many newspapers, outing the couple to some of Amy's family members.

Amy: We were going to go to Las Vegas and get married about a year and a half ago, then our friends got all mad at the idea that we were going to elope. It actually costs a lot of money, so I was like, I'm not spending $1,500 to get married by Elvis! So we decided to have a wedding ceremony -- we'd planned on June 2004. We were about halfway through planning our wedding when Gavin Newsom changed the application form. So it was like, hmmm...

Jennifer: It was like "Gay Marriage Watch" on the news. We were sitting there watching all of the couples who got married and the joy on everybody's faces.

Amy: We were like, oh, we've gotta go. So we finished our coffee and threw on clothes and ran down to BART.

Did you have any concerns about a public ceremony?

Jennifer: During World War II my family was interned at Tule Lake and when we became domestic partners we had discussed, do we want to be on a list? It's an easy way for someone to pick you out. Going there on that Friday was still the same type of feeling; like, is this going to come back on me someday?

Amy: In line we were talking about that: Now they're really going to be able to find us because we're on this list of lawbreakers.

How was it different than you'd imagined?

Amy: We didn't bring our family and nobody was there. In some ways it was nice that it was just the two of us. It was kind of in a way nicer, because when we had our big wedding, it was all family drama around the wedding.

Jennifer: It would have been really neat for my parents to see this, especially because my mom has gotten better but my dad is still coming to terms about me being gay. So if he would have seen and experienced what we were experiencing at that time, I don't see how he could have not have overcome more of a barrier. He's coming leaps and bounds, but still, I think it would have been nice if he'd been there.

Did it change your relationship?

Amy: It kind of seemed like part of a larger action with all of these people involved and it took two or three months to really feel, like oh, we got married. In a way you had to stay a little distanced from it because it was on the news every night, it was on Larry King, people everyday were saying that you're bad and you shouldn't be able to get married.


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