They first saw each other at a bar in the East Village in December 1997, and things did not immediately get off on the right foot. “It was all very confusing,” says Andrew Berg, 41, of meeting his future spouse, Dominic Pisciotta, 39.
“I had a biological daughter who’d just been born,” says Berg, the senior director of original programming at A&E, who'd been a sperm donor for a lesbian couple. “I was showing the picture to people, and [Pisciotta] thought I was some guy who left his wife at home with a newborn to go out drinking.”
Complicating matters further, Pisciotta was there with an ex-girlfriend.
“He thought I was straight,” says Pisciotta, who works as the assistant commissioner of the Department of Information Technology for the state of New York.
But the following night, the two men met again at a New Year’s Eve party, and though Pisciotta’s ex was there again, that didn’t keep Berg away. “He was making the moves on me,” Pisciotta says.
So they headed to the Pyramid Club, where they talked deep into the night and shared their first kiss. Within months, Pisciotta, who had been living in Virginia, moved north—and in with his new boyfriend.
In 2001 they held a commitment ceremony in Vermont, and two years later they were featured on the cover of Newsweek for a story about same-sex marriage, standing behind the headline (since answered) "Is Gay Marriage Next?" They hired a surrogate and had two fraternal twins, who are now 8 and will serve as the couple's ringbearers on Sunday.
For Pisciotta, it won’t be a day off: He’s helping to make sure the systems are all up and running for other gay couples tying the knot so their paperwork is processed as smoothly as possible.
Berg continues to be a little uneasy with the H word. “We’ve been using 'partner,' and it’s confusing. There have been so many occasions where we use that and people say, 'What business are you in?’ We began joking that we’re in the business of love. But 'husband' is going to take some getting used to, too. As more states approve gay marriage, it won’t sound funny. Right now it sounds funny.”
The kids, for their part, have no qualms about any of it. “They’re kind of driving the wedding,” says Berg. “They want us to get married.”