Looking back on the hoopla

As posted by Joey DiGuglielmo on washingtonblade.com:

"On the eve of this weekend’s Black Pride festivities, the Blade checked in with two of the first same-sex couples who wed here in March to find out how they’re doing now that the hoopla has subsided, how they’ve fared as gay or lesbian couples among their black friends and families and their thoughts on the importance of Black Pride.

"Three of the first couples to wed in Washington on March 9, the first day it was legally possible, were Angelisa Young and Sinjoyla Townsend, Reggie Stanley and Rocky Galloway and Revs. Darlene Garner and Candy Holmes. All three couples exchanged vows and rings at a carefully orchestrated event at Human Rights Campaign headquarters. All three couples are black.

... "Stanley and Galloway, a couple for six years, said no one would have noticed if all the couples had been white and that although they planned to wed regardless, controversial remarks made by Council member Marion Barry, who’s black and represents D.C.’s predominantly black Ward 8, inspired them to get married as soon as the law would allow. Barry, who’d previously been supportive of gay rights, said last year after voting against a bill to recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere in D.C., that his Ward “don’t have but a handful of openly gay residents” and that the majority of his constituents are opposed to same-sex marriage.

“'He was basically saying that black gay folks don’t exist in his ward so we thought it was important to be visible and present,' Stanley said. Though he and Galloway live in Ward 4, they said they felt it important to show Barry there are many black gay D.C. residents.

"Garner and Holmes, who had dated off and on for 14 years, said they decided to wed immediately for several reasons, some practical, others symbolic. As ordained ministers in the Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches, a liberal, mostly gay Christian denomination, they felt it was important to make a public stand.

“'We recognized in many ways our place as role models as both representative of the black community and the LGBT community locally,' Garner said. 'So we were happy to take our stand as a legally married couple standing side by side through the struggles.'

... "Both couples said they encountered zero negative feedback but were greeted with many cheers, applause and congratulations, both on the day itself and after.

“'People have recognized me and stop me in the hall to congratulate me,' Holmes said. 'It’s been wonderful.'

"And both couples say Black Pride remains important. Some of the reasons why, they said, popped up during the marriage wars, with the Barry incident and elsewhere.

“'We were more active with it in our single days than in later years,' Galloway said. 'But it’s still important to show diversity among the gay community. It’s a wonderful weekend and continues to be a very important event.'”

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