New York couple Pat Dwyer and Stephen Mosher have been married nine times. Now that the Supreme Court has ruled the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional and paved the way for marriage in California, they’re adding one more state to that list.
“We were recently married in Maryland and we’re planning our next six wedding trips. We’re going to continue until it’s all 50 states in tandem,” Dwyer told ABC News after the court handed down its ruling.
“I’m thinking the California wedding should be catered by In-N-Out Burger,” chimed Mosher.
The two men have been a couple for 27 years and they do all the things that long-married couples do – including correcting each other.
“We are currently legally married in eight states,” Dwyer starts, only to be interrupted by Mosher who corrects his math: “Nine.”
“Oh yes, nine. Nine because of Maryland, sorry,” Dwyer continued. “And now because California will resume same-sex marriages, legalize same-sex marriages there, we’ll go back.” Mosher and Dwyer have held a ceremony in California, but Prop 8 prevented that marriage from being legal.
“And that leaves us six more states to travel to. It’s getting to be kind of like wedding whac-a-mole,” he added.
In their 25th year together, Dwyer and Mosher decided to make a statement of sorts by traveling from state to state for wedding ceremony after ceremony just because they could.
The result was a documentary, which was released on iTunes Tuesday, chronicling their journey toward legally recognized marriage wherever they could get it.
“In terms of the impact overall, the more people that see it, the more people will understand our advocacy on this issue and the fact that there is still inequality going on. The difference between equality and inequality is that equality is not confusing,” Dwyer said.
With the court’s ruling today, the federal government can no longer withhold benefits to same-sex couples, as long as their marriages are legally recognized by the states. And in California, the court dismissed a case dealing with the merits of the Proposition 8 initiative, which defined marriage as between a man and a woman, which has opened the door to gay marriage being legal in California once again.
Still, the justices declined to decide whether bans on gay marriage was constitutional.
Dwyer said that decision may be left to a future court.
“I just had an instinct that the court as it stands now was not going to be the court to move us all the way towards equality–that they would define the laws as narrowly as they could,” he said. “I felt pretty certain that they would overturn section 3 of DOMA but that they would kick prop 8 back to the states.”
And though they view the decision today as a victory for their cause, and evidence that the country is moving closer to accepting gay individuals, their documentary shows that the issue is still difficult and deeply personal for many Americans, including Mosher’s own father.
“The truth is after 27 years together there came a point when my family welcomed Pat. They just tacitly understood that he was my partner in life, and it wasn’t until we started doing the weddings that my father stepped up and said, I understand he is your partner, I accept him as your partner, but I do not accept gays marrying,” Mosher explained.
“And that was an obstacle in the wedding tour, it was an obstacle in the movie, but obstacles come up in life and you just have to ask yourself, am I willing to roll with it, or am I going to be satisfied if this person is no longer a part of my life?”
“And it’s my father, and I’m not going to be satisfied if he’s not in my life,” he added.