GSBA Vision & Mission

MISSION: To combine business development, leadership and social action to expand economic opportunities for the LGBT Community and those who support equality for all.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Can I Get a Witness?

by Rachael Brister, GSBA Deputy Directory

You have picked the venue, figured out what to wear, purchased the rings and then you realize you need two witnesses. One problem…you are getting married hundreds of miles away from your home. Who you gonna call? GSBA! 

At the recommendation of Judge Eileen Kato that is exactly what multiple same-sex couples have been doing when traveling to Seattle to take advantage of our newly and fabulously legal same-sex marriage. When I received the first call requesting wedding witnesses, I was a little surprised, but could not help smiling from ear to ear. Since that first call, GSBA staff has been witness to ceremonies at the King County Courthouse for couples hailing from California, Texas, Oklahoma, Georgia and Montana. And that is just in the last month. They have aged in range from 20-somethings to couples in their 60s. 

At first this may sound odd or intrusive. We are strangers to these couples and they strangers to us. But these ceremonies are not the lavish events that take months to plan. They are the ceremonies so many in our community never thought we would see…legal marriages performed by a judge in a courtroom. But they are also not the stereotypical sterile image conjured when thinking of a courtroom wedding. Judge Kato takes the time to meet with the couple in private and discuss their vows and thoughtfully places the couple in a bright spot by the windows in her courtroom. “People seem to like this spot, especially for photographs.” Judge Kato offers. Then the ceremony begins and we sit quietly in the second row pew officially witnessing the nuptials. And we are not just witnesses, but also double as wedding photographer and videographer… one instance with an iPad firmly balanced on the back of the pew in front of us. Then about 10 minutes later, vows and rings have been exchanged and we clap and say congratulations as Judge Kato pronounces the couple married. The pertinent paperwork is then signed and we say goodbye to the happy couple. But not before recommending at least 5 GSBA member bars and restaurants they should visit during the rest of their stay in Seattle. From wedding witness to photographer to concierge…...just doing my gay civic duty and enjoying every minute of it. 

Witnessing the marriage of Lois & Karen from Montana

1 comment:

Maura McGurk said...

This is beautiful! As a gay newlywed myself, I truly appreciate how special this moment is, and how important the support of the community is. Keep it up!