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July 01, 2009

We tied the knot five years ago today

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(NOTE FROM PAM: I’ve updated this diary that I posted last year for our fourth anniversary. It was interesting to look back and edit. I had to delete references to marriage equality in California that was later rolled back with Prop 8; sadly, we also saw amendments pass in Arizona and Florida. The comments from last year have been preserved. You can see the old diary in the Google cache to compare.)

I love you, Katie…

July 1, 2004

Eleven o’clock in the morning at the

Apricot Cat and Black Dog Bed & Breakfast

in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

           

     


This post is a flashback describing our trip to lovely Vancouver to tie the knot back in 2004. Who knew that we would see the day when our marriage would be recognized in the United States? Our marriage is recognized in a few states (and as a civil union or domestic partnership in others), but we’re second-class citizens in NC. No hate crimes law, no state anti-discrimination on the books (never mind benefits); at least we can celebrate signing into law of an anti-bullying bill.

Marriage equality continues to thrive in small pockets in our country, and one of the best ways we can cultivate support and effect change is to bring those marriages back home where these commitments are not legally recognized. Not to challenge the legal wrong, mind you (it’s going to be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in the end), but to become visible married couples in our communities – living marriage out of the closet before our friends, neighbors, and work colleagues.

Visibility challenges assumptions; show willingness to explain to potential allies how your legal-somewhere-else marriage is denied where you live.

The fact is we will prove by example that our relationships will not cause an end to anyone else’s marriage or destroy society, and it will move all of us closer to full civil equality.

***

Our blast-from-the-past photo album is below the fold.

That year we wrote former Senator Elizabeth Dole and the White House about our opposition to the Federal Marriage Amendment and received these responses (note how the form letter from Dole addressed us as "Catharine and Pamela Spaulding" — what an irony!). Dole | Bush .


Day One – June 30 – Travel Day

     We left in the early AM, flying America West from Durham to Phoenix and then to Vancouver.

This is the view from the airplane as we approached Vancouver. We were relieved after landing that it was in the high 70s. Yes, I had to take this cheesy shot.
It was a time consuming wait clearing customs, but it was straightforward. We did currency exchange and took a cab. The first order of business once we arrived at the B&B, was to drop off our bags and walk to the nearest marriage license bureau (below), which is in Chinatown on 8 West Pender Street. It cost C$100 for the license.
Here’s Kate at the marriage license bureau. This building is in the Guinness Book of World Records as the narrowest office structure in the world. Here’s an article on the building. Click to enlarge.
YES! We have the official paperwork partially completed and paid for. Now we take it back to the B&B to complete in the presence of the marriage commissionaire at the ceremony tomorrow. Time for some brief sightseeing in Chinatown, which is an older part of downtown Vancouver.

We were now starving, after 13 hours on the plane and no food, with the exception of some mini-Snickers. Fortunately, one of the best Chinese restaurants, Hon’s Wun Tun House, was nearby on Keefer St.

Hon’s. We went to the original main location; there is a more trendy store on Robson Street, the more touristy downtown area. For some reason, Kate is into Hello Kitty, so this is a nearby novelty shop that had the characters on strange slinky springs. Kate: "It’s the secret symbol of gay pride (or to identify yourself as being gay) in Asian countries where it is typically unacceptable."

 

We went back to the B&B around 5:30, hoping to get there before Tim (Pam’s brother) arrived. He actually pulled up just a few minutes after we had walked back – great timing. Tim was in the middle of moving to a new pad, and finishing up his book project, but he put it all on hold to come be with us for the wedding. Gotta love him! We got him settled in and then we all caught a cab to Stanley Park, which is a major tourist attraction in Vancouver. One of the best known restaurants is The Fish House at Stanley Park. We can recommend the salmon; Kate thought the restaurant was overrated. We did a lot of walking afterwards, exploring the downtown area around the waterfront. It was quite crowded, lots of tourists and local, enjoying the sunny, unusually warm weather in the area (80s F).
  Tim and Pam at the Fish House at Stanley Park.
The bike/walk/skate path along Stanley Park and downtown. A good view of the waterfront.
Had to crop out some really silly looking/acting folks in this one. As we got closer to downtown, this weird sight caught our eye — trees growing on rooftops.

       We had dessert at a place downtown on Denman Street called True Confections, and there were some heavenly choices there –cheesecake and tiramisu (and 3-berry pie) are recommended. Good thing we were walking it off for several hours.

We walked all the way to the other side of the peninsula to the yuppie marina area. Sunset is really late here in the summer. It didn’t get dark until 10PM.

All of us were really wiped from the plane rides and walks but we had a great time. We cabbed back to the B&B. Tim stayed on the third floor of the B&B and we stayed in the lovely Lilac Room. Sara Ratner, the proprietor of the B&B, has created lovely surroundings for her guests!

Day Two – July 1 – Our Big Day (and Canada Day too!) Getting ready was nerve wracking. Sara served us some fantastic buttermilk waffles and the three of us enjoyed a leisurely breakfast and gabbing that resulted in only an hour to shower and get dressed before the marriage commissionaire arrived!

     

Oh you know, these are more corny "getting ready" shots you have to have… We put Tim to work on this project.

He did a great job! Kate’s ready…
Pam’s ready…
Last shot before the big event… Sara Ratner, the wonderful B&B proprietor.
The lovely table setting. A picture before things get rolling.
Another shot before the ceremony got started Are we ready? We were barefoot for the ceremony!
We’re really nervous. Pat Mitten, the marriage commissionaire (equivalent to a justice of the peace in the U.S.) beginning the ceremony, which was in the backyard of the B&B.
Listening to Pat. Vows.

     

Sara made these for us.

     

More vows. Neither of us remember much about this – so surreal!


We’re married! The joyful couple with our "best person". Sarah (Kate’s sister) — we know you were there in spirit!
It was a beautiful, sunny day. We were ecstatic.
Unbelievably happy. Down to business — all have to sign documents post-ceremony.
Pat Mitten looks on. Tim, as a witness, signs.
Everything was just perfect. Sara signs, as a witness.

     

The signing is complete. We now have to wait about a month for the final marriage license, which has to be processed and mailed to us. The happy feet!
The rings. A closer look.
Some pictures in the front yard.  
   
  The B&B sign.
   
  We went back in and Sara had the cake ready (FYI, vanilla cake made with Splenda, along with fresh raspberries,).
Cutting the cake. We are incompetent at it.
Finally, a slice! One bite for Pam…
One for Kate…

The whole ceremony was beautiful. We’re glad we have so many wonderful shots from the day.   We later went sightseeing.


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