The wedding between Mark Reed-Walkup, a provisional Board Member of the LGBT equality organization, GetEQUAL, and the “love of his life,” Dante Walkup, wasn’t the first wedding ceremony performed in Texas, but it was the first same-sex wedding performed on Texas’ soil which will have legal recognition.
The couple applied and received a “Certificate of Marriage” in Washington, D.C. back in May. On October 10, 2010, Mark and Dante declared their love publicly to their friends and family in a small ceremony in Dallas, Texas.
As I took my seat in the ballroom, I began reading the wedding program. “The Marriage Celebration of Thomas Mark Reed and Dante Karl Walkup” declared the program in a traditional fashion. My heart swelled with joy for the very happy (and nervous) couple. As I continued thumbing through the program, I quickly saw a difference between this wedding and those of heterosexual couples I have attended:
We Remember: Asher Brown, Billy Lucas, Tyler Clementi, Seth Walsh, Raymond Chase & the many other young LGBT lives who died due to suicide. It does get better.
While weddings generally bring tears to my eyes, the tears are usually due to happiness for those celebrating their love. In this instance, the tears were for the children we have lost before they had a chance to truly live. Somehow, in spite of all the efforts of so many to make the world better for them, they lost hope. I immediately thought of the words of Harvey Milk, “You’ve got to give them hope.”
As the wedding procession began, my tears continued to flow swelling with pride, joy, hope and even sorrow. These amazing men were standing before me, declaring their love, declaring their devotion and declaring to all watching that “It does get better.” This was no ordinary Texas wedding.
In order for Dante and Mark’s wedding to be legal in Washington, D.C., the ceremony had to be performed by an official authorized by the District to conduct weddings.
To overcome the jurisdictional issues, Mark and Dante arranged for the officiant to appear via Skype along with several witnesses in D.C., while the couple stood within the boundaries of their home state before their friends and family.
Mark and Dante have shown us that love endures and regardless of how hard people try to stop us, our love will carry us through. It seems, after all, love does conquer hate.
On a more personal note to the newly weds: Thank you for being a part of my life. You have inspired me, pushed me and even carried me in more ways than you can possibly realize. You have given me hope.