Getting Drunk and Crying at One of Britain’s First Gay Weddings
How has it taken so long for gay wedding to become legal in the UK? Weddings are great; they’re an affirmation of our ability to love one another and a legitimate space for adults to do the Macarena. But for many, the passing of the law allowing gay couples to marry, which went into effect at midnight on Saturday, isn’t about weddings, it’s about the principle that gay people should be allowed to do everything that straight people can do—which should be a basic human right.
Sadly, it’s not. Being gay is still illegal in over 70 countries, and while the UK is making progress, a recent BBC survey found that a fifth of British people would turn down an invitation to a same-sex wedding. On Friday night, I went to one of the first gay weddings in the UK to find out what kind of fun these bigots are missing out on.
Wanna Get Gay Married in Oklahoma? Be Part Indian
So the state of Oklahoma won’t let gays get married? Pfft. Technicality.
On October 10, 2013, Jason Pickel and Darren Black Bear were issued a marriage license by the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribe’s courthouse. Both Jason and Darren have Native American heritage, one of their tribal court’s requirements. Additionally, the couple must live within the jurisdiction of the issuing tribe. Even though the tribe’s courthouse is located on Oklahoma land, because of its status as a sovereign territory, it isn’t subject to state law.
Many of the media outlets covering Darren and Jason’s story are making it sound as if the couple of nearly a decade set out to put one over on the Sooner State, reducing the legality of their union to a “loophole.” They didn’t. They just wanted to get married. Imagine that.
A spokesperson for Mary Fallin, the state’s Republican governor, was quick to clarify that Pickel and Black Bear will continue to be treated as any other homosexual couple married out of state. In an email to the LA Times
, she wrote, “They are not recognized by the state of Oklahoma.”
In 2004, a whopping 76 percent
of Oklahoma citizens voted to define marriage as between one man and one woman. The Cheyenne Arapaho Tribe’s definition of marriage, however, doesn’t specify gender requirements. The council doesn’t award marriage certificates to males and females, but to “Indians.”
So what does this mean for gay people in Oklahoma? Well, it doesn’t mean too much unless you happen to be engaged to a Native American whose tribe administers same-sex marriage licenses. The Black Bears’ situation (Jason plans on taking Darren’s last name) is the latest reminder to all of our DOMA-minded friends that the movement for marriage equality is not going anywhere. Right now, it might be relegated to certain states and Native American tribes, but it’s coming.
VICE: So you guys found the loophole in Oklahoma, huh?
Jason Pickel: No! I keep telling reporters to stop saying loophole. We didn’t find a loophole in Oklahoma. Technically, we’re not even getting married in the state of Oklahoma. I think, in general, a lot of Americans don’t understand the concept of a sovereign nation. It’s not a state; it’s a territory. [The reservation]’s just like DC: it’s not part of Virginia; it’s its own place.
Darren Black Bear: We were getting married so I could get Jason on my insurance. That’s what this began as. It morphed and grew, and turned into a wedding. It went from the Gayly to our tribal paper, then to KOCO-5, then to… the world. It’s crazy how it grew.
Has anything like this happened before?
Jason: Actually we’re the third Native American couple [from the tribe] to be issued a same-sex marriage license. They just didn’t really want to be public and that’s fine. I met them for the first time yesterday.
A Woman Was Denied a Marriage License Her Fiancé Can’t Say “I Do.”
A couple residing in the Winnebago County, Illinois was denied the right to get married. Colette Purifoy has been with her partner John Morris for 38 years now. They have children together and have been seeking a marriage license for the past six months. What’s stopping them? In the eyes of the law, John is unable to give his consent due to brain damage.
A few years ago, John checked into OSF St. Anthony’s Hospital in Rockford, Illinois for what he thought would be simple surgery. Due to a complication that occurred while he was being anesthetized, John’s brain was starved of oxygen, resulting in permanent physical damage. Today he is in a vegetative state, in need of constant live-in care.
Moments before he was to go under the knife, John proposed to Colette for a second time. And, for the second time, she said yes.
The future these two had in mind after John’s surgery was to finally have a big wedding. They didn’t see the tragedy that was ahead, and now John is incapable of physically saying the words “I do.” He cannot leave his home, or sign his name on a sheet of paper. Because of this, he is denied the right to marry the woman he has been with for nearly 40 years. The legal relationship these two now share is that of guardian and ward.
Cruising New York Magazine’sWedding Convention
With spring right around the corner and Facebook getting lit up with little, pink marriage equality icons—it’s clear that ~true love~ is in the air. So when I found out that this “boring” and “irrelevant” little rag called New York was throwing a big, fancy wedding convention, where hundreds of gay and straight couples stroll around planning their rosy, monogamous futures together—I decided to seize the opportunity. I attended the event last Thursday at the Metropolitan Pavilion to find out two specific things:
A) Why do people want to get married so fucking bad anyway?
And (more importantly),
B) How easy would it be to tempt someone to break those stupid vows?
Three Gothic Tales from Austin, Texas
by Amie and Clancy Martin
The Hotel San Jose
“I’ve stayed in this hotel at least 15 times. Trust me, you’ll love it.”
Clancy had shown me the video tour of our suite at the San Jose Hotel. It looked like The Hermosa in Scottsdale (except at The Hermosa, each guest has her own adobe casita). It looked like the Altis Belem in Lisbon (except the oceanfront Altis Belem is fancier and I prefer the San Jose’s APC.-style simplicity). It looked like Philip Stark’s hotel in Hong Kong, except the suites there are bigger, cleaner, and more stylish, with individual touches, like a beaded rocking chair from Africa, and the Stark boutique hotel has free breakfast, free snacks downstairs all day, and cocktails and cake in the afternoon.
When we checked in the staff was strangely surly. They acted like clerks used to act at cool record stores in the 90s.
“That’s the only problem with this place,” Clancy apologized. “They’ve always acted like that. But otherwise it’s great.”
We were in the largest suite but they couldn’t check us in for several hours. “Check-in,” they said, “is at three.” Apparently there is a great demand in Austin, Texas for $700-a-night suites. All four had been booked the previous night, according to the clerk in a newsboy hat, and none had been cleaned. He offered to hold our bags.
Things went from inauspicious to bad. It may come as a surprise, but when I get angry I go crazy. We were finally checked into our room at around five. That night, Clancy and I had the worst fight we’ve ever had. I broke the bottle of “Rainwater” that was provided free of charge. I shouted.
Two bearded, hipster security guards arrived. These two young men in black were in over their heads. Not knowing how to handle noise complaints (one said there had been four, and one said there had been six), they seemed to have come to our door thinking, “What would the officers on Cops do?” One had a Maglite. I sensed they were frustrated they couldn’t arrest me. I felt like they wanted to award Clancy, who gets quiet and—in his own words—exaggeratedly polite when he is angry, a Man of the Year Award.
The next morning a hotel manager called the room. “I’m going to have to ask you to leave.”
Clancy said that was fine, but that she would have to credit us for the second night’s stay. She said, “No, I won’t be able to do that.” He was firm. They met in the courtyard, next to a tiny black-slate wading pool and the little boutique where the Hotel San Jose sells Toms shoes and $25 neon-green flip-flops.
“I’ve had complaints. You’re going to have to leave,” she said.
Clancy said, “That’s the business you’re in. I’m sure we’re not the first couple to have a fight in this hotel. Are you married?”
She shook her head.
“Well, one day you will be, and then you’ll understand that married couples fight, and you can’t decide when and where you’re going to have a fight with your spouse.”
He returned to the room. “We’re staying.”
Things went from bad to worse. The entire staff had been gossiping about us. That was understandable, but the strange thing was that they wanted us to know it. No one would look us in the eye, except to express contempt.
“This is fun,” Clancy said. “I feel like the unpopular kid in high school again.”
The next morning we sat at Joe’s, the pleasant coffee shop owned by the hotel, located on the other side of the parking lot. We debated about whether or not we should write this review.
What can I say? It’s a boutique hotel, like any other. We behaved badly. But there’s a reason The Four Seasons, The Rosewood, The Mandarin, and my little places such as the ones mentioned at the opening send their future managers to The Oriental Hotel in Bangkok. While there, future managers work for a year, starting in housekeeping, or as busboys. It is because for a hotel to be good—let alone great—only one thing is required: courtesy.
Read the other two tales
All couples find themselves in a rut every now and then. It’s easy to take your spouse for granted, fall into a routine, and wind up neglecting the one you love. But marriage is like driving a nice Cadillac—if you take your hands off the wheel for too long, you’re eventually going to drive into a Mexican restaurant. Occasionally you need to shake things up. Spontaneity is the key.
Read the rest at Vice Magazine: www.viceland.com