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Rainboww edding n etwork M A G A Z I N E Vol. 6, Issue 2 Autumn/Winter 2011

The Nation’s First LGBT Wedding Magazine

autumn create your own

Real Couples Real Weddings

themed favors & flair

Frank & Robert’s Civil Union in Chicago’s Millennium Park

Pet-Friendly Honeymoon Hotspots Landmark Legislation in New York! Five Couples Tie-the-Knot with Historic Pride $5.95 US ● $7.95 CAN

Vol. 6 Issue 2 Autumn 2011 1

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in this issue

36 Marriage Equality in NY Volume 6, Issue 2

22 DIY Spotlight: Your Autumn Themed Wedding Autumn/Winter 2011

P36 Marriage Equality in New York Feature Five Couples Tie-the-Knot with Historic Pride! P22 P07

DIY Spotlight: Creating Your Own Autumn-Themed Favors & Flair Real Couples, Real Weddings Frank & Robert’s Civil Union in Chicago’s Millennium Park TM

P17 Our Country, Couples, and Canines Dog-friendly weddings, honeymoons, and travels across the U.S.A. P13 Designer Ice Cream Sweeten Your Reception Celebration with this Unique & Classy Dessert! P43 New Civil Union Recognition in States across the Nation Rhode Island, Hawaii, Illinois, Delaware P19 In Rememberance... P34 The Just Married Game Love, Laughter... it’s all in the cards! P06 Letter from the Editor P27 The RainbowWeddingNetwork Orange Pages Gay-friendly Businesses screened to uphold a policy of non-discrimination. Weddings, Travel, Gifts, Honeymoons & more!

RainbowWeddingNetwork Magazine PO Box 17596, Asheville, NC 28816 Published by Jemima Creek Signature Publications A division of Artistic Ventures, Inc. Copyright ©2011 Artistic Ventures, Inc. All Rights Reserved. This publication may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the written consent of its publisher. RainbowWeddingNetwork Magazine, its parent company, subsidiaries and advertisers will not be held responsible for any errors found in this publication. The publisher accepts no liability for the accuracy of statements made by interviewees or advertisers, nor for the accuracy of photo credits. References to third parties contained within this publication, including but not limited to photographs, advertisers and interviewees does not imply sexual orientation.

▼ The RainbowWeddingNetwork Family Since 2000, your trusted LGBT Wedding Resource! coming soon! Join us on Facebook: RainbowWeddingNetwork RainbowWeddingNetworkMagazine SameLoveSameRights Join us on Twitter: GayWeddings RainbowWedding

Vol. 6 Issue 2 Autumn 2011 3

vitals Founders, Cindy Sproul & Marianne Puechl Senior Editor, Marianne Puechl Photo Editor, Cindy Sproul Layout / Graphics / Technical, Ira Adams Web Assistant, Carol Puechl Contributing Writer, Susan Hart Hellman

An Investment We Can All Live WithAre all of the businesses that participate in RainbowWeddingNetwork lgbt-owned? No, in fact 70-85% of them are not. All of them, however, are actively screened as lgbt-friendly.

Contributing Photographers Stacy Raneri & E. Ziskin, Cindy Sproul, Robin Souma, Christian Oth Studio Cover Image by Cindy Sproul, Asheville NC

Why is this important? The issue of Equality is much bigger than any one minority. Advocates, allies & friends must stand together in order to enact real change. How can I make a difference? Take an active role, every day! Each of us can make the choice to spend our dollars with companies that support non-discrimination. Whether you’re planning your ceremony, going on vacation or simply choosing new home décor… take time to invest your purchasing-power with companies you’re sure are lgbt-friendly. By supporting the businesses in this magazine, and online at, you can rest assured that your dollars are at work in promoting Tolerance and Equality.


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Please make checks payable to: Artistic Ventures, Inc. ● PO Box 17596 ● Asheville, NC 28816 Subscribe online at or call 866.251.1564, toll free RainbowWeddingNetwork Magazine, PO Box 17596, Asheville, NC 28816 Published by Jemima Creek Signature Publications, a division of Artistic Ventures, Inc. Copyright ©2011 Artistic Ventures, Inc. All Rights Reserved. This publication may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the written consent of its publisher. RainbowWeddingNetwork Magazine, its parent company, subsidiaries and advertisers will not be held responsible for any errors found in this publication. The publisher accepts no liability for the accuracy of statements made by interviewees or advertisers, nor for the accuracy of photo credits. References to third parties contained within this publication, including but not limited to photographs, advertisers and interviewees does not imply sexual orientation.

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Vol. 6 Issue 2 Autumn 2011 5

from the editor It’s a time to celebrate! Ten years ago, gay & lesbian couples in Vermont could enter into civil unions. There were no other options throughout the United States, concerning legal recognition of our committed relationships. Since then? Massachusetts. New Jersey. Connecticut. Iowa. New Hampshire. Washington DC. And recently: Illinois. New York. Delaware. Hawaii. Rhode Island. Yet, DOMA remains intact. And 12 states prohibit same-sex marriage via statute and 29 prohibit it via the state’s constitution. My home state of North Carolina is soon to put an anti-gay constitutional amendment to voters – it is the last remaining state in the South that does not currently have such legislation already in place. Nonetheless, it’s a time to celebrate! But it’s also a time to dig deep and strive hard for the next plateau on our climb for equality. As dates for the upcoming primary elections switch back & forth... as the hot-button topics on the campaign trail ricochet day-to-day... the LGBT minority should not become distracted. We’ve achieved so much this year! We must continue to work together, become more cohesive as a minority, and continue our work toward marriage and family rights. Locally, at the state level, and federally. “My Dangerous Commute: Witnessing Gay Marriage Rights Across America” is now available thru Amazon

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There are many who believe that President Obama, at the end of his second term (yes, his 2nd), will enact same-gender marriage rights because he’s well aware it is the right thing to do. There is never an excuse in America to deny the rights of one minority. And if this is true, it will be a great day indeed! But in the meantime, we must continue to take the necessary steps so that the foundation will be in place when that mandate comes through. As my partner and I state in our recent book, “My Dangerous Commute: Witnessing Gay Marriage Rights Across America” – Our goal, as a minority, is not to convince the legislators or politicians or powers-that-be to provide us with equal rights. They need not hand down justice nor offer it up. We’re 19 million people! We must claim Equality as our own. It is our responsibility; it always has been. This past decade has proven that we’re on our way. As a minority we are gaining clarity, we’re identifying our common goals, we’re beginning to organize and take the steps to enact lasting change. With 19 million voices, ultimately we will be heard. So, yes, let’s celebrate our recent victories! And let’s continue to envision even broader change.

Puechl (rt) with partner Cindy Sproul & daughter, Kestin

frank baiocchi

& robert hunt

by Susan Hart Hellman contributing writer

“Having a civil union was never something we, as a couple, even discussed,” says Robert, a Broadway and off-Broadway actor. “Then, we were asked if we would be interested in participating with 29 other couples in a series of civil unions in Millennium Park on the first day it became legal. The ceremony was sponsored by The Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, in partnership with the Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture, Lambda Legal, Equality Illinois and the Alliance of Illinois Judges.” He says that after that invitation, he and Frank, a former actor and current Senior Program Officer for a humanitarian foundation, didn’t have to think twice. “We said yes.”

first meeting

Frank and Robert during a romantic trip to Venice

“Weddings,” “civil unions,” “marriages”... The public sometimes flounders at the choice of words to use when describing the marriages and celebrations of commitment between same-sex couples. The couples themselves, however, do not have difficulty. At the heart of the matter is Love, any gay or lesbian partner will proclaim, without a moment’s hesitation. Our ceremonies and celebrations may not have a definitive legal name at this time,

in this place, but they are as common and as stressful, as unique and as moving, as sacred and as wonderful as any wedding has ever been.

On June 1, 2011, Illinois Senate Bill 1716

went into effect, making that state the latest to legalize same-sex civil unions. On June 2, thirty couples came together in a joint civil union ceremony in Chicago’s Millennium Park, including Frank Baiocchi and Robert Hunt. But to them, becoming participants in the event was somewhat of a surprise.

However, this couple had said “yes” to each other years before. Shortly after meeting through their acting careers, they knew they wanted to be together. Although both were successful actors in New York, they met in San Antonio, Texas where Frank and some of Robert’s friends were touring with South Pacific. When Robert visited those friends, he was introduced to Frank, literally at the theater’s stage door. “There was definitely an immediate attraction,” Robert says, “but I was dating someone else at the time so we were friends first.”

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Real Couples Real Weddings But once both were available, falling in love came easily, and they spent a year together in New York. “We both continued to pursue our acting careers,” Robert explains. But eventually, Frank wanted a career change, and Robert had tired of New York and wanted a different community, but where he could continue his acting. When Frank was accepted into a University of Chicago graduate program, the couple was more than ready to move to Illinois.

exchanging rings They were ready for the next step in their relationship too. “In 2006 we exchanged rings in a park by Lake Michigan near our home,” Robert recalls. “It was just the two of us and we were sitting on the swings when we did it. It’s an amazing memory for us. It was an official statement of our relationship.” But they placed their rings on their right hands, not their left, hoping for what the future might bring.

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Three years later, making another statement, they bought their first home together and their family took on a new form too, expanded to three when they rescued a dog they named Maybe. “When we were adopting her,” Robert explains, “there were a lot of statements like, ‘Maybe she’s a lab.’ ‘Maybe she’s a terrier.’ ‘Maybe she’ll be seventy pounds.’” And Frank’s new career was expanding too, as Senior Program Officer for Polk Brothers, a Chicago foundation involved with reducing the impact of poverty and providing better access to quality education, preventive health care, and other basic needs. He also joined the boards of Illinois’ ACLU and Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education, and is a founder of the Chicago Arts Learning Initiative. Robert, who has also appeared at Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, in national stage tours, and in countless regional theatre productions, continued adding to his resume too, most recently appearing in

Light Opera Works Chicago’s production of “Brigadoon” and as Sky Masterson in “Guys and Dolls” in Munster, Indiana. But the couple makes sure to prioritize spending time together during their busy schedules. “We love going to museums (The Art Institute of Chicago, one of our favorite places), Cubs games, Blackhawks games, movies, the theatre, and concerts,” Robert explains. “We live so close to the lake and we are always riding our bikes, going for a run, or stretching out in the sun by Lake Michigan.” “We love going to the farmers’ market,” Robert adds, “buying the ingredients to take home and cooking a nice meal. Our friends and family are very important to us and we spend a lot of time with them.”

Real Couples Real Weddings

(Top) Surrounded by friends, family and press Frank and Robert celebrate their union with a kiss. (Lower Left) The couple pictured with Rob’s family. (Lower Right) Posing for a photo with Frank’s family.

illinois legislation In fact, friends’ opinions played a role in the couple’s decision-making after civil unions were legalized by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn on January 31. “We talked about it with friends,” Robert says. “There was a lot of talk about being disappointed it wasn’t full marriage. We knew as we were looking down the road to starting a family we would have to go through a lot of legal steps to protect ourselves and our (prospective) children, but we always thought we would wait for full marriage rights.” But then the invitation to participate in the civil union ceremony with 29 other couples in Chicago’s Millennium Park was received, and Robert and Frank decided to become part of that remarkable history.

“There was a huge celebration on June 1st when people lined up to get their license,” Frank explains. “We didn’t go to that lineup, as Robert was in technical rehearsals for Brigadoon at the time and had an early call at the theatre that day.” But with Robert’s mother accompanying them, they drove to a County Clerk’s office closer to the theatre and rehearsal, even though it could have meant standing in a very long line. But they were lucky. “We were the second people in line to get our license,” Robert says. “There were no difficulties at all. The woman at the clerk’s office who helped us was so nice and kind of funny. She was trying so hard to make sure she did it all right as it was her first time working on a civil union. When she gave us our license she said ‘Congratulations!’ And that was that.”

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Real Couples Real Weddings

the ceremony ‘That was that’ for the license; now they prepared for the ceremony the next day. “It was amazing!” Robert exclaims. “When we arrived, there were a lot of photographs being taken and impromptu interviews going on. There were 30 couples having a ceremony that day and there was such an air of celebration and excitement.” Part of that excitement was generated by each couple’s ten allotted guests. “We were lucky enough to have most of the members of our immediate family with us,” Frank says. Then, the couples were assigned to a ‘wave’ -to stand before one of the five judges volunteering to conduct the ceremonies that day. “Governor Quinn spoke, Mayor Emanuel spoke, and the Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus sang,” Robert says. Then,

their wave, Number 3, was called up for the private five- to eightminute ceremony with their own judge and guests. Most couples had incorporated lavender into their attire, a special request from Lambda Legal, so when Frank and Robert stepped up, they did so with single lavender calla lilies in their suit lapels. “We were nervous and we definitely shed a few tears,” Robert says. “Even though we were surrounded by reporters, photographers, and news crews we remember the ceremony as being very private.” But what Robert and Frank remember most is staring into each other’s eyes and feeling their family members around them. “We said some personal words to each other that could be classified as ‘vows,’ and moved our rings from our right hands, where we had chosen to wear them when

we exchanged rings on the swings, to our left hands. “The emotions were overwhelming and wonderful,” Robert adds. “One of the most

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Real Couples Real Weddings

Parents to be? Frank & Robert on Maybe’s adoption day, 2009

touching elements of the day was seeing how many (hundreds) people came to watch from the other side of the barricades to cheer us on – including some of our dearest friends.” After the ceremony, a reception was held at the Chicago Cultural Center across the street from Millennium Park. “There was a beautiful reception for all 30 couples and their guests,” Robert says. “There was a champagne toast, an open bar, and some wonderful hors d’oeuvres. It was an amazing group of people to be with.” That “amazing group” of civil union participants included two of Robert and Frank’s closest friends. In a post-celebration celebration, Frank and Robert were honored again at lunch with their families at Terzo Piano restaurant in the Art Institute of Chicago. “Great food,” Robert says. And a great view: the site of their civil union, Millennium Park.

just the beginning The end of this perfect day marked the beginning of the next phase of their life, which they hope will eventually include marriage. “We look forward to someday having full marriage equality. When that

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becomes available we’ll decide then how to celebrate it.” Children are in their future too. “We do plan on starting a family soon,” Robert says. The couple has already enrolled in the foster family classes the state of Illinois requires for anyone adopting. Robert and Frank will have a lot to share with their children about June 2, 2011. “It was incredible,” Franks says. “It was an amazing sensation to suddenly feel included after being excluded for so long. To know we can say, ‘This is my husband’ . . . . It’s still sinking in.” Susan Hart Hellman is a California-based freelance writer, who has just completed two novels.

If the labels “Rodeo Drive Designer” “Off 5th Avenue,” “Hampton’s Lux,” and South Beach R.E.A.L.” make you think of haute couture and designer clothes, you’d be correct about the designer part of that. But in this case, it’s more like cold couture: designer ice cream, from Cowabunga!

The Forked River, New Jersey-based Cowabunga Ice Cream was originally conceptualized as a local Jersey Shores “hangout” where friends and families could meet and enjoy highcaliber classic and healthy frozen desserts. However, with unique ice cream flavors such as New York Cheesecake and Rice Krispy® Treat, and frozen yogurts in flavors such as Chocolate Cable Car and Red Velvet Cake, word spread rapidly about these unique products, and Cowabunga soon went national.

In addition to expanding the business, Cowabunga also began to offer expanded quantities, making the company’s ice cream and ice cream cakes available in bulk for special events including pre-wedding events and wedding receptions, demonstrated at Cowabunga’s exhibit at New York’s Great Bridal Expo last April. Debra Kulovitz of the Great Bridal Expo Group, Inc. believes that high quality ice cream can transform wedding-related events from ordinary

Making YOUR COMMITMENT even sweeter Vol. 6 Issue 2 Autumn 2011 13

Making Your Commitment Even Sweeter...

Recipe for ‘Delicious’ Cowabunga Ice Cream 609.971.3453 New York Cheesecake

Take 5

Death by Chocolate

Coffee Espresso

Almond Joy

Rice Crispy®

Cookie Dough

Chocolate Peanut Butter

A rich cheesecake flavored ice cream with cubes of cheesecake and graham crackers swirled throughout.

Robust coffee-flavored ice cream with chocolate-covered espresso beans.

Cookie dough-flavored ice cream, chocolate chip cookie dough with dark chocolate chips blended throughout.

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A luxurious vanilla ice cream with peanuts, caramel & chocolate-covered pretzels.

Coconut flavored ice cream with almonds and dark chocolate chips.

Chocolate ice cream base with decadent peanut butter swirls.

Chocolate ice cream with chocolate chunks, chocolate cake “crunchies” and fudge swirled throughout.

Vanilla ice cream with marshmallow swirls and Rice Krispies® mixed throughout for a sweet crispy crunch.

Making Your Commitment Even Sweeter...

to extraordinary. “From elegant ice cream bars at spring and summer soirées, to decadent build-your-own banana split or ice cream sundae stations,” she says, “to wedding or shower cake à la mode, integrating sumptuous ice cream into the experience is one tasty way to create a distinctive event and sweet memories.” Those “sweet memories” may be ordered in many unique flavors including Cookie Dough, Mint Chocolate Chip, Cake Batter, Almond Joy, and Coffee Espresso, and the New York Cheesecake (the Rodeo Drive Designer “collection.”). Cowabunga’s Off 5th Avenue flavors include, Classic Chocolate, Death by Chocolate, and Chocolate Peanut Butter. And for those ice cream “purists,” standing by the age-old love for vanilla, the Lux Vanilla flavors include Very Vanilla, Take 5 (Vanilla with peanuts, caramel, and chocolate covered pretzels), and the Rice Krispy® Treat. The R.E.A.L. yogurt varieties, all low fat, with digestion-promoting probiotics, include the Red Velvet Cake and Chocolate Cable Car, and also Peanut Butter and Strawberry. Cowabunga CEO Ellen Schack says, “Our inspired ice cream blends offer

an exquisite epicure experience that’s perfectly suited for special occasions and celebrations like weddings and engagement parties.” She adds, “This is why we offer our fabulous frozen confections for full-scale catering nationwide.” But what happens when the grooms or the brides have different ideas about what flavor to order for their weddingrelated events? Just like blending their lives together, their Cowabunga ice cream orders can be custom-blended too. For instance, how about a Red Velvet Cake/Chocolate Peanut Better combo? Or, Very Vanilla/Chocolate Cable Car? Strawberry along with Rice Krispy® Treat? Cowabunga’s event/catering services (www.CowabungaIceCream. com) can tell you more about custom orders. It’s a given that Cowabunga Ice Cream can make any wedding-related event a special treat, but why not also treat the brides or the grooms to a special prewedding surprise, by having a special Cowabunga “four-pack” (four pints shipped on dry ice) delivered to their home? A sweet reprieve from ceremony planning... Cowabunga!

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Our Country, Couples, and Canines Dog-friendly weddings, honeymoons, and travels across the U.S.A. by Susan Hart Hellman contributing writer

When Erin Calabrese and Stella Sensel married at Cape Cod, Massachusetts in July, accompanying them down the aisle were friends Rufus and Pepper. But these two differed from the couple’s other attendants: Rufus and Pepper are Boston Terriers. They and Jack Russell Terrier, Kahlua, also honeymooned at Provincetown’s dog-friendly Captain Jack’s Wharf with Erin, a journalist, and Stella, Manager for Halloween Adventures. According to the U.S. Travel Association (travelhorizonsTM, July 2009), nearly 50% of national adult leisure travelers view pets as “family.” Almost 20% include pets in travel plans, a fact not un-noticed by the travel industry across America, including Kimpton hotels.

She loves everybody and everything. She’s also a really good traveler.” The couple only takes Kendall when they travel by car, and she burrows under blankets in her crate on the back seat. Kendall’s travels have not included a honeymoon, yet. “We've been together 18 years,” Steven explains regarding his and Rod’s relationship, “but we're not having a ceremony until it's (same-sex marriage) legal everywhere.”

“We know pets are a part of the family,” says General Manager Ericka Nelson of Manhattan’s Muse, near the theater district. “Whether it’s arranging for organic treat delivery, mapping out walking routes or recommending pet-friendly restaurants in the area, we do everything we can to make our guests, regardless of size or species, feel right at home.” The Muse’s Director of Pet Relations, teacup Pomeranian Ginger, assures that visiting pets receive treats, water bowls, and toys. The Muse is also offering a “Free to Be Just You and Me” honeymoon package in honor of New York’s same-sex marriage legislation, and numerous canine guests are expected along with their newly-wed humans. Like Erin and Stella, Steven Lindsey and partner Rod, of Dallas, Texas, travel with a terrier, Kendall. “Of our four dogs,” says Steven, business owner, editor, and freelance writer, “Kendall’s the most social.

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Our Country, Couples, and Canines

The Hummingbird Inn, VA (above and below)

In Goshen, Virginia, dogs such as Kendall would be welcome too, at Patty and Dan Harrison’s Hummingbird Inn. A special firstfloor accommodation has direct access to extensive lawns where dogs can run, and pets receive a treat basket, bowl, special towel, and rug upon checking in. Dan and Patty go even further. “Recently,” Dan says, “we walked a dog for guests while they were out to dinner.” For those preferring rustic locations, the historic C.O.D. Ranch in Oracle Arizona is ideal. It is believed that C.O.D. initially stood for “Come On Down,” and that invitation includes dogs accompanying their couples in the Round House, the Ranch’s dogfriendly accommodation overlooking the Santa Catalina Mountains. “There are no extra fees for dogs, and no limit on breed or size,” assures event coordinator Stacy Raneri.

In Remembrance... Duncan Jacob, canine poet 1993-2011

This summer, the RWN family said goodbye to our sweet & dear friend Duncan. He was eighteen years old and his transition was as graceful and peace-filled as he’d lived all his days. There are hardly words to describe how much he is missed. A wise & inspiring companion, his spirit will remain forever near and always in our hearts. As tribute, we offer the first poem he gave to us, from June 2004: I came to you that day -up out of the woods, unexpected, wise, unkempt, dirty, afraid… You didn’t know who I was. Underneath, a dog, soon enough to know…

Within, an angel, years gone by to know…

I came to you that day wise, unkempt, dirty, afraid Who was it you were expecting if not your angel? The Round House @ the C.O.D. Ranch, AZ Image courtesy Stacy Raneri & E. Ziskin

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Our Country, Couples, and Canines

Our Favorite Pet-Friendly Travel Spots! Capt. Jack’s Wharf Provincetown (508) 487-1450 Manhattan’s Muse Hotel NYC - near Times Square (212) 485-2400 Hummingbird Inn Goshen, VA (540) 997-9065 C.O.D. Ranch Oracle, AZ (520) 896-9161 Canary Hotel Santa Barbara, CA (805) 884-0300 Kathleen’s Barn Tivoli, NY (845) 757-2827

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In the Southwest, Santa Barbara’s islandreminiscent Canary Hotel has history behind its dogs-welcome policy too. The hotel’s website explains that the name “Canary Islands” probably stems from Insula Canaria meaning “Island of Dogs. Accordingly, Canary Hotel’s canine service is called “Club Canario,” and four-legged visitors’ packets include a limited edition Canary Hotel collar tag.

Hairy Putter, CA

Partners Louis and Alan of Northern California say they don’t vacation anywhere unless five-year-old Cairn Terrier Hairy Putter goes too. But usually, Hairy takes them, through his job as Director of Barketing with promotional firm Visit

Mendocino County, Inc. “If we start to pack to go someplace,” Louis says, “he starts looking for his suitcase to be sure he is going.” Because of Hairy’s work, that suitcase is huge, with contents including his

Our Country, Couples, and Canines legislation, weddings and honeymoons are being planned with ever more frequency. Savvy venue owners & innkeepers are preparing for these couples and their pets as well. Included is Kathleen Mandevelle, owner of Kathleen’s Barn in Tivoli, New York. “Dogs are no issue,” she says. She once hosted a couple with seven greyhounds. The rustic fully-equipped barn retreat is surrounded by acres of roaming space, a pond & stream, making it an ideal setting for a rural honeymoon. A wedding too, as Kathleen is a wedding officiate, with a 25 year-background as an Episcopal priest. And, she says, she’s thrilled to have couples’ dogs participate in their weddings.

Canine guests may frolic pondside at Kathleen’s Barn in Tivoli, NY

sunglasses, five or six collars with matching leashes, hair brush, his black bowtie, and white bowtie, once worn by Cher, Louis says. LGBT couples are often highly devoted dog owners, and with the increasing advent of states passing same-gender marriage

Canine Travel Tips There are tricks to traveling with dogs, and Steven Lindsey advises, “If the dog is riding loose, I recommend a doggie seat belt. I think the biggest thing when thinking about traveling with a dog is to consider the dog’s comfort and safety first.” Louis recommends a product Hairy Putter uses, a dog water bowl, with wide rim to prevent spilling, designed for a cup holder. “Now when we travel, Hairy has his own water at his level in the car.” In any area of the United States same-gender couples might choose for weddings, honeymoons, or vacations, venues are increasingly opening doors and hearts to those couples and their beloved pets.

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A utumn F lair by Ira Adams contributing writer Photo courtesy Cindy Sproul, Asheville

for your commitment

Each year the arrival of Autumn is accompanied by that familiar feeling. Soon the landscape will be transformed into a canvas of color and the air will be filled with the aroma of the changing seasons. It’s a time many have treasured since childhood. If this season also marks the time of your upcoming wedding, designing many of the accents for your ceremony theme can be a fun and inventive way of lending your unique style to the commitment festivities. With the stress of budgeting, coordinating and pre-planning it’s easy to see why any wedding do-it-yourselfer might wince at the mere mention of taking on another project. Yet for this reason it’s important to remember that this activity can be a

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fun and relaxing way for you and your partner to connect and create a truly meaningful theme for your event, while saving extra dollars that you might prefer setting aside toward the honeymoon! Feel free to build on these ideas as a creative starting point:

Autumn Photo Frame One artistic idea is also a great excuse for you and your partner to take a pause from the stress of planning and remember the moments that have defined your relationship thus far. Using a few simple items you can create a beautiful autumn photo frame that tells the story

DIY Spotlight: Your Autumn Wedding

of your relationship or pays homage to the important people in your lives. You can begin this project with your choice of decorative paper in an assortment based on your specific ceremony colors. Some great starters for your autumn theme might include a rich black, chocolate browns, burnt oranges or golden yellows. From this point pressed sunflowers, lavender, mums and autumn leaves can serve as decorative accents while a collage of important photos, poems and love letters can tell your story. You can create a single piece or carry the idea across each reception table to give your story more length. Use a decorative stone or wooden photo frame (or series of frames) to complement the natural elements of your creation.

Autumn Place Card Holders Using a smaller pumpkin variety such as Jack Be Little or Munchkin, you can create a unique and decorative place card holder that will extend your autumnal theme even further. An apple assortment is another great option, and local varieties are often available at your neighborhood tailgate market. Guests will enjoy the nostalgic and simple way this accents the tables! To create the decorations, simply place an individual pumpkin or apple at each place setting and insert a metal card holder. You can then insert your place cards and voila! You have a quick, effortless accent that creates a lasting impact for your reception. (If needed, a spritz of lemon juice just at the base of

Š Cindy Sproul

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DIY Spotlight: Your Autumn Wedding

Add a hint of autumn throughout your ceremony/reception by hanging dried flowers. Incorporate grape vines in your autumn arrangements as a great way to hold each piece together. Their natural curvature will serve as the perfect complement.

the card holder will help keep the apples fresh throughout the festivities.) Accent flower buds or colorful leaves can be added alongside each apple or pumpkin for a more polished effect; your florist may be able to help if necessary.

Do-it-Yourself Reception Centerpieces Keeping with the natural feel of your autumn theme you can create a uniquely beautiful reception centerpiece using seasonally available items. This is a great way to establish the basis of your theme with simple, understated elements. One such idea involves the use of driftwood as the focal point of your arrangement with the addition of seasonal flowers, autumn leaves and even acorns to create a cascade of autumn color which will no doubt set the tone for your festivities. Once you’ve selected the perfect piece of driftwood for your reception centerpiece you’ll want to ensure it has been cleaned thoroughly to remove any dirt and debris. A quick spray with a garden hose should suffice in most cases. After cleaning

set your centerpiece aside to dry before proceeding. Now that you have a completely dry piece of wood you can use sand paper to smooth the surface and give your centerpiece a more polished look. You can then optionally apply varnish or wood stain as you like. After you have finished polishing off your raw wood your creativity will really be able to shine through. Depending on the size and shape of the wood you’ve selected you may consider using a small container that can easily be hidden within the wood as a reservoir of water for any fresh flowers. Use caution with this approach as an improperly seated container can lead to spills later. If your plans allow time the day-of you may even be able to incorporate fresh flowers throughout this arrangement. You can alternately select an assortment of quality silk flowers and attach them by applying dots of hot glue. This approach may be a favorite as you can ensure your arrangement will remain perfectly preserved throughout your reception and can even become a unique seasonal

Use a seasonal menu for your reception to extend the theme further; your caterer and your cake decorator should be able to offer fresh ideas. Burlap fabric is a rustic accent to add to your décor - using burlap beneath centerpieces, your photo frames or even a bowl of apples or platter of dried fruit is one more way to seize the most the season has to offer. Old-fashioned twine (available at most craft stores or neighborhood hardware stores) also adds a nice touch! Remember the forgotten sense of smell when building your theme. Scents such as cinnamon, pumpkin, fresh autumn leaves and even orange can evoke a connection to the season for you and your guests. For an outdoor reception on those chilly autumn evenings include a hot beverage bar: Cocoa, hot apple cider with cinnamon and even hot coffee will leave guests feeling warm and pampered! Even the children present will be able to indulge!

Vol. 6 Issue 2 Autumn 2011 25

DIY Spotlight: Your Autumn Wedding

addition to your new home together. And rest assured, silk flowers today are quite beautiful! Some even boast a fragrance, if you like, and it’s also possible to order faux florals online – silk, wood and other options abound which can help you create the exact design you’ve envisioned.

A Festive Dessert Item You can even take a festive approach to dessert with items such as caramel apples or pumpkin dip. Imagine a platter of fresh caramel apples or even a variety of caramel, candied and chocolate dipped apples to bring back those warm childhood memories and leave guests delighted. If you’re feeling brave you can take on the task yourself or in many cases you can leave it to a dessert vendor to handle this sweet indulgence.

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Remember to alternate with the option to hold the nuts on certain varieties to ensure that everyone can enjoy the treat. Chocolate dipped oranges, peanut brittle, spiced bread and other autumn favorites also make a wonderful addition to your hors d’ouevres menu. Today’s chocolate fountain companies sometimes offer a caramel option, which is also another festive way to indulge in many of the seasonal sweets without as much preparation on your part: the fun of dipping apple slices and other treats can be left up to your guests! Another dessert item that is sure to be a hit is pumpkin dip. For do-it-yourselfers there are a million recipes online that you and your partner can have fun experimenting with. Play with different varieties of pumpkin and different

combinations of ingredients until you find the recipe that best suits your tastes. As a decorative finish hollow out your favorite gourd and use it as a unique serving bowl. Ginger snaps offer a natural complement to this dessert item and are perfect for dipping. Cheese fondue can also be served in a hollowed pumpkin, if you care for a switch from the sweet! Seizing the opportunity to create a unique do-it-yourself event theme can be a fun way to build lasting memories that you and your partner will cherish for years to come. It’s also a budgetfriendly way to help set the mood for your wedding and reception, and comes with bragging rights when guests ask about your décor. Remember that this is your story to tell so make the most of it - in the way only you can!

Top LGBT Friendly Companies of the Season

RainbowWeddingNetwork proudly presents:

Top LGBT Friendly Companies

- for Autumn/Winter 2011

Since 2000, it’s been our goal to screen wedding, home, travel & family-related businesses all across North America for you & your partner. After all, planning your wedding, dreaming about your vacation or meeting the unique needs of your growing family should be FUN, free from awkwardness and instead filled with moments of sincere respect and excitement. Remember, the categories listed here are general guidelines. Many of these businesses offer several services, so be sure to call them directly or visit their website. You won’t want to miss any fabulous details!

Bands/Entertainment/DJs & Musicians

Banquet & Event Facilities

Anderson Entertainment The Ultimate Experience in Wedding Entertainment Serving Philadelphia, New York and New Jersey 450 Andbro Dr. Unit #1 Pitman, NJ 08071 (800) 773-0337, toll-free

Alger House and Manhattan Penthouse Two extraordinary venues for 25 to 250 people. 80 Fifth Avenue New York, NY 10011 (212) PARTIES (212) 627-8838

Dance Time Entertainment DJ, Emcee, Live Musicians Serving the New York Tri-State Area 545 Saw Mill River Road Ardsley, NY 10502 (914) 591-2100 TNY Entertainment Always exceeding our customers’ expectations! Serving throughout the Boston area (617) 282-5154

Ballroom off Fifth Warm and sophisticated event space, ready to make your reception remarkable. 37 W 37th Street, between 5th & 6th Avenues (near Penn Stn) New York, NY 10018-6205 (212) 532-6232 (937) 608-2626 Batcheller Mansion Inn Shouldn’t the setting be as unique as you are? 20 Circular St. Saratoga Springs, NY 12866 (800) 616-7012, toll-free (518) 584-7012, local

For more comprehensive information, photos & more, visit -over 5,000 businesses await you, each screened to uphold a policy of non-discrimination!

Vol. 6 Issue 2 Autumn 2011 27

Top LGBT Friendly Companies of the Season Birch Hill Catering Sp-(Albany) Serving Upstate NY since 1936 One Celebration Way Schodack, NY 12033 (800) 834-4440, toll-free (518) 732-4444 Boston Marriott Quincy Sp-(MA) 1000 Marriott Drive Quincy, MA 02169 (617) 472-1000 bosqu-boston-marriott-quincy/ Carey Lake Banquet Center Sp-(Rochester) 15,000 square foot Victorian style building with all the amenities - We’re ready to make your celebration complete! Located on 200 acres in Penfield, NY (315) 986-1936

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Crowne Plaza Seattle Sp-(WA) 1113 6th Avenue Seattle, WA 98101 (206) 464-1980 Crowne Plaza Tampa Westshore Sp-(FL) 5303 W. Kennedy Blvd. Tampa, FL 33609 (877) 227-6963 Crystal Plaza Be Prepared to Fall in Love...... 305 West Northfield Road Livingston, NJ 07039 (973) 992-8100 Sp-(State)

Gotham Hall Sp-(NYC) Where Style Meets Sophistication 1356 Broadway @ 36th Street New York, NY 10018 (212) 244-4300 Hilton Garden Inn Albany Med Ctr Beautiful Accommodations & Unique Event Space for Before and After the Wedding! 62 New Scotland Avenue Albany, NY 12208 (518) 694-3807 (518) 396-3500

Host Sponsor of 2011 ‘Same Love, Same Rights’ LGBT Wedding Expo, produced by RainbowWeddingNetwork For full Event Calendar, visit

Top LGBT Friendly Companies of the Season Hilton Garden Inn Staten Island Sp-(SI) Lorenzo’s Restaurant, Bar & Cabaret Nicotra’s Ballroom Your Fabulous Wedding Weekend Awaits! 1100 South Avenue Staten Island, NY 10314 718-477-2400 / (718) 477-2100 X 235 Hotel de Glace Your dream wedding in a unique icy atmosphere 9530 rue de la Faune Quebec, Canada G1G 5H9 (418) 623-2888 Las Vegas Pauite Golf Resort Stunning. Unique. Events. 10325 Nu-Wav Kaiv Blvd. Las Vegas, NV 89124 (800) 711-2833, toll-free (702) 395-1700, wedding specialist Magnolia Hotel Denver Sp-(CO) Your elegant wedding setting, redesigned! 818 17th Street Denver, CO 80202 (888) 915-1110, toll-free (303) 607-9000, local Mystic Blue Cruises A celebration as fun and exciting as you are! 600 E. Grand Ave @ the Navy Pier Chicago, IL 60611 (866) 391-8439, toll-free (312) 396-2226, local Chicago/Weddings Nahant Country Club Make Our Mansion Yours 280 Nahant Rd. Nahant, MA 01908 (781) 581-0515

Odyssey Cruises The Most Unforgettable Wedding Venue, for Your Most Special Day 600 E. Grand Ave @ the Navy Pier Chicago, IL 60611 (866) 391-8439, toll-free (312) 396-2226, local Oheka Castle Exclusive Weddings & Commitment Ceremonies 135 West Gate Drive Huntington, NY 11743 (631) 659-1400 Palos Verdes Golf Club Panoramic Views of the Pacific! 3301 Via Campesina Palos Verdes Estates, CA 90274 (301) 791-7946 (310) 375-2533 The Sands Atlantic Beach Picturesque Beachfront Venue, set on Long Island’s South Shore 1395 Beech Street Atlantic Beach, NY 11509 (516) 371-4000 Sheraton Burlington Sp-(VT) 870 Williston Road Burlington, VT 05403 (802) 865-6600 Spirit of Chicago Your Dream Wedding, floating along Chicago’s Lakefront in style! 600 E. Grand Ave @ the Navy Pier Chicago, IL 60611 (866) 391-8439, toll-free (312) 396-2226, local Chicago/Weddings/

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Top LGBT Friendly Companies of the Season Venezia Waterfront Let Boston’s most dramatic view play host to your perfect wedding! 20 Ericsson St. Boston, MA 02122 (617) 436-3120

B & Bs/Inns/Wedding Packages for Intimate Ceremonies

Décor & Rentals

Highlands Inn One of the most romantic lesbian destinations on the planet! 240 Valley View Lane Bethlehem, NH 03574 (877) LES-B-INN (537-2466), toll-free (603) 869-3978, local

DAZIAN Creative Fabric Environments Creative Fabric Environments East Coast Showroom: 18 Central Blvd. S. Hackensack, NJ 07606 (201) 549-1000 (877) 232-9426, toll-free /

Mt Gretna Inn Arts and Crafts-style Bed & Breakfast nestled in the tranquil hills of Mt. Gretna, PA 16 Kauffman Ave. Mt. Gretna, PA 17064 (800) 277-6602, toll-free (717) 964-3234, local

PTG Event Services Tents & party rentals, off-premise catering, event decor, amusements & entertainment 180 Oval Dr. Islandia, NY 11749 (888) 401-2020, toll-free

Beauty Enhancement/Fitness A Healthier You Wellness and Beauty Consultations to fit your unique needs! 4201 Neshaminy Blvd - PMB #310 Bensalem, PA 19020 (215) 791-0576

Caterers/Restaurants Green Mansions Catering Extraordinary cuisine and service for 36 years, plus two unique venues for 25-250 Sixth Avenue and Bleeker Street New York, NY 10013 (212) PARTIES (212) 627-8838

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Washington Parties Creating unique events centered around locally purveyed and preferably organic food. 3911 Porter Street NW Washington, DC 20016 (202) 342-3400

Event Consultants & Designers Adorned Events, LLC Let Us Enrich Your Event! Serving Baltimore, Washington DC, Northern VA and throughout the East Coast (877) 448-9618, toll-free Bowties and Butterflies Event Planning Look no further! You’ve found your planner! Serving Western Massachusetts, the Berkshires, Northern Connecticut (413) 313-2579

Top LGBT Friendly Companies of the Season CompassRose Wedding & Event Planning Gay-Friendly Wedding Planner in Merrimack Valley, MA (978) 407-8031 wedding-planning

Lifetime Events by Jacqueline We work with you, for you! Based in Westchester County, serving NYC, White Plains and beyond! (914) 713-3126

Ellagant Event Planners The quality service you desire to make your day extra special! Proudly serving Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia 304-620-0630

Timeless Events by Katie Creating Unique Memories for all Occasions! Serving the Tampa area (813) 766-3522

J-Angelo Event Planning Let us make your dream a reality! Service throughout the Philadelphia area (570) 686-9873

Formal Wear & Apparel Bridal Reflections Catering To Every Bride 260 Fifth Avenue New York, NY 10001 (212) 764-3040 Tuxedo Warehouse 878 SW 10th Ave. – Bay 7 Pompano Beach, FL 33069 (954) 942-4712

For more comprehensive information, photos & more, visit -over 5,000 businesses await you, each screened to uphold a policy of non-discrimination!

Vol. 6 Issue 2 Autumn 2011 31

Top LGBT Friendly Companies of the Season Gifts, Favors & Keepsakes

Officiants/Places of Worship

THE TWISTED COW accessories for her, him, dog, and cat Service internationally!

All Ceremonies Beautifully Done Reflecting Your Unique Relationship through a Ceremony Customized Just for You! Serving the Chicagoland Area (847) 491-0603

Whimsy Home Decor and Unique Gifts “Seriously Fun” Colorful Contemporary Items that will make you Smile Corner of 14th & Pine 1535 14th Ave. Seattle, WA 98122 (206) 324-4679

Honeymoons & Travel Arriva Travel American Express Premier travel agency in New York City personalized, caring service! (914) 428-6611 Vermont Backroad Tours Provides Bachelor and Bachelorette Parties, wedding shuttles and scenic tours. 2788 US 7 South Wallingford, VT 05773 (802) 446-3131

Invitations/Calligraphy/Albums Lori Mausner Designs Invitations & Stationery for Any Celebration Personalized service by appt in Holmdel, NJ; Service nationally through the website (732) 335-4002 Invitations by Beth Invitations and Stationery for ALL Occasions Serving Baltimore, Washington, PA, VA (410) 486-9006

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Ceremonies of the Heart – Rev. Deb Viola Creating Beautiful and Custom Ceremonies Serving NYC, Long Island, Tri-State Area (516) 697-1400 Common Ground Ceremonies INTERFAITH Ceremonies that Celebrate what brings us Together Serving NYC and the Surrounding Areas (646) 709-2090 Rev. Alexis Rolnick, non-denominational minister CONGRATULATIONS! Based in W. Virginia, can marry couples in Washington DC and will travel to Virginia, MD or Delaware! (304) 725-3763 Rev. Joan Margau | Wedding Paradigm Memories to last a lifetime. Each ceremony an original creation! Serving the Chicagoland area 4216 N. Whipple Street Chicago IL 60618 (773) 539-3882 Rev. Myriam Bouchard Honoring the sacred, one ritual at a time. Interfaith Minister, serving the Hudson Valley (845) 489-6518 http://HudsonValleyLGBTQweddings.

Top LGBT Friendly Companies of the Season Rev. Paula M. Peterson Personalized Hamptons Weddings 631-283-6729 Rev. Rita Atlas All Faiths, Traditions and Orientations Serving Central & Northern New Jersey (732) 672-1940 Unitarian Universalist Church of Nashua, NH Imagine a religion that embraces many different beliefs... including yours. Nashua, NH (603) 882-1091

Photographers Fine Art Fotos & Videos Getting Married? Let’s have some fun! Based in Staten Island, NY (718) 273-2130 (917) 273-7883 Glennola Photography, Inc Preserving Your Memories Serving throughout the NYC Metro Area (718) 785-9606 Heather Trimm Photography I’ll help you capture your moments! Based in Seattle, available Worldwide (425) 753-7389 Maureen Cotton Weddings Candid, Creative & Classic Photography Serving New England & Beyond (617) 501-5196

Wedding Packages / Destination Weddings Banff Gay Weddings Same Sex Weddings in the Magnificent Rocky Mountains of Canada (403) 609-3936 Ceresville Mansion Twenty-five riverside acres; exchange vows in your own mansion! 8529 Liberty Road Frederick, MD 21701 (301) 694-5111 Hotel de Glace Your dream wedding in a unique icy atmosphere 9530 rue de la Faune Quebec, Canada G1G 5H9 (418) 623-2888 Kauai Island Weddings Specializing in spiritual & nondenominational Weddings & Civil Unions 6440-B Olohena Road Kapaa, HI 96746 (808) 822-5381 Love Scotland Legally Marry midst Castles & Lochs! Victoria’s Mansion Guest House 68 Gloucester Street Toronto, Ontario Canada M4Y1L5 (416) 921-4625

Vol. 6 Issue 2 Autumn 2011 33

© Cindy Sproul

“The Just

Question: Need a breather from the Wedding Plans? Looking for a fun ice-breaker at the engagement party? “The Just Married Game” may be your Answer! S.Y.C.K. Girl Games, a new game company sporting the tag line “games for OUR family” is celebrating over one year of bringing the “The Just Married Game” to gay and lesbian couples across the U.S.A. Family Game Night may never be the same! When the question is asked, “At work, is your partner flaming gay, asexual, or playing it straight?” interesting conversations ensue. Players are often surprised to find out one another’s perceptions about definitions and about each other. Co-founder Christa K. VanMeter says, “Even though we wrote the game and have played it with over a

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hundred couples, we still sit down and play just the two of us together sometimes. And when we do, we learn a little something new about the other every time we play.” The game is not just an easy way to relax and giggle together, but also has the potential to help couples build on their relationships and marriages. Some questions are casual and border on silly... others cut right to the chase. Without a doubt, “The Just Married Game” will get the conversation started!

Married Ga me” A Q&A Card Game for You & Yours

“If your partner were a piñata and you whacked them with the whoopin’ stick, what would you say would be the first thing to fall out?” “If your partner had been born straight, which of your friends would he or she pick as a hetero- lover?” “What is your partner’s favorite superhero?” “Where is your partner most likely to hush you: the in-law’s house, the movies, or a fancy restaurant?” “Where is he/she the most ticklish?” “What will your partner say is the one thing you could do to make them the happiest person on earth?” Company co-founders Shannon Y. Edwards & Christa K. VanMeter (the S.Y.C.K. of SYCK Girl Games) say, “We ran across so many confusing gender stereotypes when we tried to play other games for newlyweds

or straight couples. So we made a game that didn’t have those stereotypes. We feel like our game basically levels the playing field for our co m m u n i t y. We can have fun with our relationships, celebrate our marriages, and make discoveries about each other too.”

Both also say, “The best part of the game is playing it with other couples, even straight couples! Although it is gender neutral, there is an occasional question or two that will force a heterosexual couple to think outside their norm – and that can be a learning experience as well as outright hilarious!” The game features approximately 200 cards and 600 questions with point values of 1, 3, and 5 points. One-pointers are the easy multiple-choice questions but the 3 and 5 pointers get a little tougher and a lot more tantalizing! The game is perfect for a wedding gift or favor, a party game, or as a one-on-one game with your partner. There are even alternate game play rules on the SYCK Girl Games website. LOVE & LAUGHTER, that’s what it’s all about! Currently, “The Just Married Game” sells for $15 + shipping; other games also available through the website. (877) 828-SYCK (7925)

Vol. 6 Issue 2 Autumn 2011 35

Marriage Equality in New York a job well done by Susan Hart Hellman contributing writer

Alexus and Jeremyedding Bertrand-Price 36 Rainboww network


n June 27, 1969 at the Stonewall Inn on New York’s Christopher Street, the police again staged one of their frequent raids. But this time bar-goers said enough, and crowds gathered, fighting back for equal rights for America’s gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transsexuals. It was gay history’s defining moment. Gay pride was born. Four decades later, on June 24, 2011, crowds again gathered at Stonewall, but this time in celebration of the passage of New York’s Marriage Equality Act. In another defining moment, America’s same-sex couples could now legally marry in that state. Licenses would be issued in 30 days.

Among the first to stand in line on July 24 was Atlanta couple Dawn L. Jackson-Graves and Dineathea Graves-Jackson, who then married in New York’s Washington Square Park the next day. “I feel more American,” Dawn says. “I was too young to participate in the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s but I truly believe that this is the civil rights issue of the day.” Dawn, an ex-lawyer and Dineathea, an ex-accountant, now moving company owners, first met in Germany in 1988 while in the U.S. Army. The women have been together ever since.

Gary, President of the Imperial Court of New York, and Damian, Ad Layout Coordinator at Newsweek Magazine had met in March 1996, and moved in together around the time of another point in New York’s samesex marriage history, Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s 1998 signing of the domestic-partnership bill.

first met, and they also mention pride. “We are proud to be a part of a piece of American history and live this magical moment,” Davide says. They met and lived in France, but soon relocated to New York for business reasons. “We have been living with each other since the day we met,” Davide explains.

It was a year later when Davide and Fabrice

Three years later, New York again made

Brooklynites Alexus and Jeremy BertrandPrice acted quickly too. “The first day it was legal, Sunday, July 24, 2011, we went down there to get our marriage license,” Alex says, “and the energy from everyone was so warm and inviting. We met couples who had been together for 1, 2, 20, 30 and even 48 years! We are so thankful to the state of New York and to everyone that supported it.” He adds, “Our love was already amazing and to have our home state recognize what we’ve already known is just providential.” New York’s Davide Torchio and Fabrice Borg had much the same reaction. “This was an amazing achievement for civil rights,” Davide says. “We can feel that people see us under a different light.” The couple, coowners of a hair salon with Food Network’s Donatella Arpaia, add, “We are feeling very special to finally be able to get married and have the state of New York recognize it.” The word “recognition” is prevalent in couples’ comments, as is “pride,” reminiscent of yet another significant point in New York gay rights history, 1970’s First Annual Pride March, commemorating Stonewall the year before. “We are proud to be a part of this historic moment,” says K. Tyson Perez, fashion stylist and Editor-in-Chief, concerning his August 25th marriage to Malcolm Harris, of the One Dress Project and Huffington Post writer. “Pride” is also used by Gary Cosgrove and Damian Ross of Lodi, New Jersey, married on July 24. “We were proud to represent New Jersey on the first day of Marriage Equality in New York and show the world that we are as equal as they are! It was truly an amazing feeling being part of NY LGBT History.”

Gary & Damian

Photo by Robin Souma

Vol. 6 Issue 2 Autumn 2011 37

Marriage Equality in New York: a job well done history, enacting the 2002 Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act, a step toward marriage equality. It was also the year of Tyson and Malcolm’s meeting. “Malcolm and I met at a popular night club in 2002,” Tyson explains. “We were both bored to tears and made eye contact from across the room. Malcolm says it was love at first sight. I say it took about a month. Lol!” Soon, they dated, spent every day together for the next six months, and moved in together a year later. And then, they watched the legislation, hoping to marry soon.

The Legislative Rollercoaster But there were setbacks. In a July 2006 Civil Lawsuit, the New York State Court of Appeals ruled that same-sex couples had no marriage rights under New York’s constitution.

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For those hoping for New York marriages, the next few years seemed to be a legislative rollercoaster. In April 2007, Governor Eliot Spitzer backed legislation to legalize same-sex marriage, the bill easily passed the State Assembly, but was blocked in the Republican-controlled Senate. However, in May 2008, Governor David Paterson ordered New York agencies to recognize same-sex marriages from other states and Canada.

The Engagements

In 2009, the Senate rejected same-sex marriage again, just about the time New Yorkers Alexus and Jeremy BertrandPrice, Dean of Students at a Harlem charter school, and Hammond Organ repair business owner, respectively, met though the Lavender Light Gospel Choir. Having strong religious backgrounds, their spiritual connection was instant, as was a close friendship. “However,” Alex recalls, “I had just ended a 5 year relationship, and Jeremy was just starting to date someone else.”

Dawn and Dineathea decided to go ahead and plan their wedding too. “We sort of had an official engagement,” Dawn recalls. “We always knew we would marry.” So the former New Jersey residents decided to marry under that state’s Civil Union Law, booked a venue, and sent invitations for the alternative to their preferred New York wedding.

But several months later, traveling to Alex’s hometown, the situation changed. Alex explains, “We just looked at each other and I said ‘I love you, Jeremy.’ Jeremy said ‘I love you too.’” Regardless of the New York legislation, they wanted to marry, and Alex decided to propose on May 29, 2010, in a favorite New York spot, Tompkins Square Park, thinking of a December wedding.

But their plans happily changed. On June 14, 2011 New York Governor Andrew Cuomo  introduced the Marriage Equality Act, which would permit “all couples to

Vol. 6 Issue 2 Autumn 2011 39

Marriage Equality in New York: a job well done July 24, the first day allowed, they obtained their license from the Manhattan City Clerk.

enter into marriage in New York state, thereby removing the current barrier same-sex couples face in recognizing their relationships, protecting their families and obtaining essential benefits.” On Friday June 24, the Act passed the New York State Assembly, 82-47, and the Senate, 33-29, making New York the sixth U.S. state to allow gay marriage. “Lo and behold,” Dawn says, “one month before our nuptials, out of nowhere, New York passed the Marriage Equality Act.” She and Dineathea quickly changed plans. “Naturally, we decided to wed under the marriage law instead of Civil Union.” On

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Malcolm & Tyson

For other couples, the “engagement” was faster. “We were on the phone with one another while the bill was being presented on the floor,” Tyson recalls, “but had to hang up before it passed.” But the moment the bill passed, Malcom tweeted: “@MisterEditor Will You Marry Me?” Tyson tweeted back: “@MisterGoLightly Yes Yes Yes!!!”

Gary and Damian also had no time for an official engagement. “Damian called me and told me he applied for the lottery to be one of the couples married on the first day they were allowed in New York,” Gary recalls. They did make the lottery, receiving the e-mail that night. “After the initial

OMG!” Gary says, “we started the planning process because we were getting married in 2 days!” After a dozen years together, Davide and Fabrice began planning their wedding too. As if foreshadowing their decision, together they’d caught Donatella’s bouquet at her own April wedding.

Finally... The Weddings These couples’ weddings took many forms, including a glamour-filled event Tyson and Malcolm designed around their careers. Malcolm explains, “Since the both of us live, breathe and work in fashion, we decided to incorporate fashion into our big day.” Continuing their theme, Tyson wore what he calls his ‘GOLD ensemble.’ “My homage to Cinderfella.” Malcolm wore one of his own creations. He explains, “I like to say it’s a business up top (a jacket of sorts) and a

Marriage Equality in New York: a job well done party down below (a full ball skirt).” Davide and Fabrice, on the other hand, chose a private water-side home wedding, which unfortunately had to be postponed due to Hurricane Irene. But friends didn’t let that stop them from honoring the special couple. “Even though it was a tricky decision to make,” Davide explains, “three of our couple friends that live in our building decided to throw us a cheering-up surprise party in their apartment.” Davide and Fabrice were asked to wear their wedding attire, so they donned their white sequin-trimmed blazers, white tuxedo shirts, and black pants for the affair. “How wonderful was this special gesture,” Davide says. “Fabrice’s family that traveled from France and my friends that arrived from Los Angeles were deeply touched! So, overall Irene crushed our party, but she couldn’t crush our family and friends’ spirit; we had a fabulous time!” Gary and Damian chose marriage before a

judge in the City Municipal Building, with Gary’s sister, Gayle, and recording artist, Sir Ari Gold, witnessing. Their attire was regalstyle: red, white, and gold for Damian, and black and silver for Gary. Swarovski Clear Crystal Crowns were created by Robert Sorrell, and Gary wore a floor-length royal robe with black and silver sequin flame pattern from Jeremey-Stuart de Fishberg Haute Couture. Dawn and Dinethea married in Washington Square Park, where their ceremony was filmed for an upcoming documentary on gay marriage. “We had our own vows,” Dawn explains, “and there was one witness, my sister-in-law, Colethea Reed. It was raining and we were under the Arch at the Park and people started to gather to watch the ceremony, and clapped for us when we were pronounced married.” Dawn says she wept openly. “It was Unspeakable Joy.” They have scheduled an October reception at the Atrium Country Club in West Orange, New Jersey. 

Alex and Jeremy wed a second time on July 31. “God is very important in our lives,” Alex explains, “and we always said we would get married in our church with our church family.” All & Jeremy's cake, ten members Alexus by Chef Mauro of tv's Carlo's Bakery (Cake Boss) of their wedding party wore something purple. “Purple being the color of royalty and the official color of the fight against Lupus,” Alex explains, a disease his mother battles. “In a personal touch,” Alex explains, “we both had three bowties to choose from, but didn’t share with each other which one we were going to wear until the day of the wedding.”

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Marriage Equality in New York: a job well done In addition to their choir’s numbers, Broadway personality Tituss Burgess sang “Wedding Day,” a song acknowledging the struggles same-sex couples have endured. Alex says their reception was at Giando on the Water, because they love the water and New York City. Giando created their signature chocolate martini called “The Dirty Church Boy,” and chef Mauro of

television’s Carlo’s Bakery created their cake.

minds: the political future of same-sex weddings.

The future of same-sex marriage

“We know that this is so much bigger than us,” Tyson explains. “This now gives hope to the little boys and girls who thought the Cinderella story would never be their reality. That is why it is so important for us and other gay couples to tie the knot and make gay marriage the new norm.”

Regardless of the type of wedding they chose and their own personal joy, all couples had an additional issue on their

Davide and Fabrice express similar feelings. “We are proud to be a part of a piece of American history and live this magical moment. It feels unreal that we will be able to tell our grandchildren that we lived it. On the other hand, we have to realize that we only have won a battle and not the war. We are still not recognized at the federal level and over 1,100 rights are not given to us for that reason. The end of this discrimination is near though, but we have to continue to fight for our rights.” In June, 1999, the Stonewall Bar, the site of the Stonewall uprising of June 1969 was designated a national historic landmark. In June 2009 New York City officials used the uprising’s 40th anniversary to promote gay and lesbians’ visits to the City as a ‘Rainbow Pilgrimage,’ a “rite of passage.” When the crowd gathered at Stonewall on June 24 this year, it was to mark another gain in equal rights for America’s gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, and transsexual individuals, and another rite of passage, the right of samesex couples to legally marry in New York. “We could not have painted a more perfect picture than for us to finally say ‘I do’ and the government to honor it,” Dawn says of her marriage to Dineathea.  “I pray that the Federal Government soon makes samesex marriage legal on the federal level and honors and respects who and how we love.  The Great State of New York: We Salute you. Well done.” Susan Hart Hellman is a California-based freelance writer, who has just completed two novels.

Getting Engaged! Fabrice & Davide triumphantly catch the bouquet at Food Network’s Donatella Arpaia’s wedding. Photographer: Christian Oth Studio

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New Civil Union Recognition in States across the Nation

Rhode Island IN EARLY 2011... While full marriage rights could not find the necessary votes in the Rhode Island state legislature, a bill was instead introduced in May that would legalize civil unions within the Ocean State. Within 6 weeks, this bill passed the Rhode Island House of Representatives by a vote of 62 to 11 and then the state Senate by a vote of 21-16. Governor Lincoln Chafee (Independent, inaugurated January 2011) signed the bill on July 2nd, 2011. Surveys show app. 60% of Rhode Islanders are in favor of same-sex marriage. Even the strong population of Catholics there reportedly supports gay & lesbian marriage rights, as long as the Church is not required to perform the weddings. Of the six states in New England, Rhode Island is the fifth to offer broad marriage recognition for its LGBT citizens. Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Hampshire all provide full marriage rights.



Applying for Your Rhode Island Civil Union License: (these guidelines are valid as of October 2011; it is best to check with your local clerk’s office to verify updated requirements) *A Rhode Island Civil Union License will cost $24, and is valid for 3 months. *You should apply for your license at the clerk’s office in the city or town of residence of either partner. The license is then valid throughout the state and your ceremony may take place anywhere in Rhode Island. (If neither partner lives in Rhode Island, the license must be obtained at the clerk’s office in the city or town in which your ceremony will be held.) *Both partners must apply for the license in person and sign the application in the presence of a city or town clerk or assistant.


Preferred Vendors for your Rhode Island Ceremony! Rev. Natalia de Rezendes (401) 766-8316 Phil Thomas Productions (203) 380-8772 Sara Zarrella Photography, LLC (401) 398-2922 Jennifer Neves Photography (401) 253-0010

*You’ll need to bring: a certified copy of your birth certificate plus an additional valid form of id. If previously married or committed by civil union, you’ll need a certified copy of the final decree of divorce or dissolution of the civil union (with the raised or original stamped court seal), or a certified copy of the death certificate of the previous spouse/partner.

James Anthony Photography (401) 331-5511

It’s always best to contact the clerk’s office in advance to verify hours of operation, and preferred method of payment.

Linden Place Mansion (401) 253-0390

Weedweavers Floral Design (401) 789-1453

Since February 2007...

various forms, yet for four years the bill has lapsed before being brought Illinois State Representative Greg to a vote. But in 2009, when Harris Rhode Island now provides civil Harris has strategically introduced re-introduced the bill, the proposed unions. Maine lags behind, providing the Religious Freedom and legislation advanced to the floor of limited domestic partnership benefits Marriage Fairness Act to the Illinois the House, only to languish there yet to same-sex partners. legislature. Several times, and in again. A parliamentary procedure Vol. 6 Issue 2 Autumn 2011 43

New Civil Union Recognition in States Across the Nation followed, the bill was rewritten, and an extension for a vote was granted despite the fact that the legislative session was set to end that May. In late November, the historic vote successfully took place and the Illinois House passed the landmark bill 61 votes to 52. The Senate passed it as well, with a similar margin. Governor Pat Quinn signed the bill enthusiastically on January 31, 2011. “Here we are on the eve of Abraham Lincoln’s 202nd birthday and I think this is very special,” Quinn said as he signed the legislation, before a crowd of hundreds of supporters in the Chicago Cultural Center. “We believe in civil rights and we believe in civil unions.” (Chicago Sun Times) The new law provides more than 650 spousal benefits and protections. These rights include automatic hospital visitation rights, the ability to make emergency medical decisions for partners, the ability to share a room in a nursing home, adoption and parental rights, inheritance rights and pension benefits. Rights and responsibilities however are not equal to those afforded heterosexual couples through marriage.

Nearly 20 years ago... The Hawaii Supreme Court found it to be discriminatory that the state refused to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Many believed Hawaii would be the first state in America to provide equal marriage rights for its LGBT citizens; however in 1998, after years of debate, voters in the Aloha State approved a 44 Rainbowweddingnetwork MAGAZINE

Applying for Your Illinois Civil Union License: (these guidelines are valid as of October 2011; it is best to check with your local county clerk’s office or legal counsel to verify updated requirements) *To obtain your civil union license, both partners must appear together at the County Clerk’s office, to fill out the application. Valid identification (with proof of age) is required. The fee is app. $60.

Preferred Vendors for your Illinois Ceremony!

*The license will be provided while you wait and is effective the following day and for 60 subsequent days, but your ceremony must take place within the county in which your license is issued. *For further information, search online for the clerk’s office in the county in which your ceremony is going to occur. CONGRATULATIONS!

Susie O Photos (708) 935-1615

All Ceremonies Beautifully Done! Rev. Marian Hale (847) 491-0603

A Wedding Ring Experience (866) 583-6982, toll-free

Bethany United Church of Christ (773) 472-0729

Wyatt Austin Jewelers (847) 985-4046

Wedding Paradigm (773) 539-3882

Holiday Inn Chicago Mart Plaza (312) 836-5000

Photography by Larry Burrows (708) 308-6583

Odyssey Cruises (312) 396-2226

New Civil Union Recognition in States Across the Nation

Applying for Your Hawaii Civil Union License: (these guidelines are valid as of October 2011; it is best to check with your local health department or legal counsel to verify updated requirements) *A Hawaii Civil Union License will cost app. $60 (payable in cash), and is valid for 30 days after issuance. Both partners must appear before an authorized agent at a Department of Health office to receive a civil union license; however out-of-state residents may call for further information: (808) 586-4545 or visit for other pertinent details, including downloadable license applications.

Preferred Vendors for your Hawaii Ceremony! Kauai Island Weddings event planners & destination weddings (808) 822-5381 (808) 652-4305 html Rainbow Weddings & Celebrations (808) 822-0944 (808) 822-1183 Kayak Kauai, honeymoon adventures (808) 826-9844 (800) 437-3507 Hokuli’i Images 808-845-HOKU (4658)

constitutional amendment to reserve the right of marriage to heterocouples. Years of further debate have followed, concerning the idea of civil unions. Finally, gay & lesbian couples will win this right, beginning January 1st, 2012.

*Both partners must appear in person and provide valid identification including proof of age. If previously married or committed in a civil union, proof of original divorce decree or death certificate must be provided. A completed license application should also be presented. Contact the Department of Health in the locale in which you plan your ceremony, or in which one or both partner resides. *For those planning a Destination Wedding – it is important to remember that your civil union will be valid only in the state of Hawaii, and in those states which recognize civil unions or same-gender marriage. Federal rights & responsibilities will not apply.

Marcia Campbell Photography (808) 735-2782 Glenn Currie Photography (877) 454-2012, toll-free Maui event planner / destination weddings 800-859-0072, toll-free White Doves of Koolau, dove release (808) 247-1599 Sunsets in Hawaii, Vacation Rentals (808) 443-1724 Rev. Toni Baran, ceremony officiant (808) 235-6966

Recent studies claim that gay & lesbian residents of Hawaii along with those planning destination weddings would bring an additional $21 million - $49 million in revenue for the state, if full marriage rights were permitted.

Within just four weeks after its introduction into the state Senate... Civil union legislation in Delaware was signed into law. Couples may enter into civil unions beginning January 1, 2012. “Tonight,” announced Governor Jack Markell, as he signed the bill on May 11, 2011, “we say to children of gay and lesbian parents in committed relationships all over our state — and there are so many wonderful kids, including many here tonight, growing up in those families all over our state — we say to you: It doesn’t matter if your parents are gay or straight. You are a family. And while we’ve known it, and you’ve known it for years, tonight, that equality becomes real under law.” (USA Today) The signing ceremony took place midst champagne toasts and music provided by the Rainbow Chorale of DE, with marriage rights organization Equality Delaware reportedly encouraging over 600 supporters to attend the event. Recent surveys show that it’s nearly a 50/50 split among citizens of Delaware in support and in opposition to full marriage rights for the LGBT community. However, app. 60% approve of civil unions. The state of Delaware does not have any bans in place preventing same-gender couples from adopting children.

Vol. 6 Issue 2 Autumn 2011 45

New Civil Union Recognition in States Across the Nation

Applying for Your Delaware Civil Union License: (these guidelines are valid as of Oct. 2011; it is best to check with your county clerk’s office to verify updated requirements) *Partners must apply together at the County Clerk’s office. Regular hours are 9am-4pm (with offices often closed from 12pm-1pm.) ID is required: a valid Driver’s License or DMV issued ID card, Passport or Military ID. Application fee is app. $50 ($75 if out-of-state residents) and payment by cash is required. If either partner has been previously married or committed in a civil union, an original divorce decree, annulment or death certificate is required. *Your civil union license will be valid 24 hours after it is issued. *By appointment, the Clerk of the Peace can perform your civil union for an additional fee of $50-$75.

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Preferred Vendors for your Delaware Ceremony! Deerfield Golf & Tennis Club (302) 368-6640 ext 1217 Harry’s Savoy Ballroom (302) 475-3000 Rev. Peter McGuinness, FCM (484) 832-9868 1-866-OUTVITE (688-8483)

Frog Hollow Golf Club & Banquet Facility (302) 378-4653 The Margarita Man of Delaware (302) 947-4000 Thyme Catering Events by Design (302) 230-6318 Tiffany Caldwell Photography (410) 629-9929


Vol. 6 Issue 2 Autumn 2011 47

48 Rainbowweddingnetwork MAGAZINE

RainbowWeddingNetwork Magazine - Autumn 2011  
RainbowWeddingNetwork Magazine - Autumn 2011  

Inside this issue of RainbowWeddingNetwork Magazine... Frank & Robert’s civil union in Chicago’s Millennium Park. Marriage Equality in New...