New York Same-Sex Marriage: Five Couples on Their Gay Weddings

Five couples tell The Daily Beast how they're feeling on the eve of their weddings.

Norma Virola and Crystal Gonzalez

Sometimes love begins in the unlikeliest of places.
“She was working as a security guard in a domestic-violence homeless shelter. I was a tenant there,” says Norma Virola, 36, an administrative assistant and billings clerk at an electrical-supply house. “We started out as friends.”
“It was kind of hard,” adds Crystal Gonzalez, 26. “I wasn’t supposed to be fraternizing. I actually got fired for that.” (Gonalez now works at Polito’s Barber Shop in Queens.)
Initially, Gonzalez didn’t even know Virola was a lesbian. But Virola was determined to get her attention without spelling it out for her, so she went to the mall and bought a belt with a rainbow flag on it, then paraded around in it before the woman she was pursuing.
“It worked,” says Virola. “Ever since that first date, we’ve never been apart. I’d given up on love, but she showed me different.”
Gonzalez even took on the responsibilities of being a co-parent to Virola’s four children from her previous marriage. The kids will all be part of the ceremony on Sunday.
“My oldest daughter’s going to be my maid of honor,” Virola says. “My youngest will be blowing bubbles instead of tossing rose petals. My middle daughter will be walking in with Crystal’s brother, and my son’s going to be walking me in.”
The wedding party will have to wait until the end of August. “We couldn’t get a hall so quick,” Virola says with a shrug, adding that it doesn’t really matter. "We’re getting married in New York City,” she says. “We can’t wait for Sunday to come.”
--JB

Williamson Henderson and AnDre M. Christie

If you're looking for love in the Big Apple, avoid taxis.

On June 27, 2003, Williamson Henderson (born in Brooklyn, raised on Long Island) stepped onto a No. 5 train, where his heart skipped a beat. The object of his affections? AnDre M. Christie, a Jamaican refugee 30 years his junior. Today they are peas in a pod. “We work together, live together, play together,” says Henderson, 58, who is the president of the Stonewall Veterans Assocation.

Christie (“he’s got the same last name as the governor of New Jersey, but he’s hot,” says Henderson) is the organization’s secretary. Occasionally, the age discrepancy between them earns stares, but Henderson points out that lots of older straight men marry young women, and no one bats an eye. “Look at Rupert Murdoch and his gal. They have a 40-year age difference! Or Hugh Hefner and his women. How far apart are they in age?”

A couple of years ago, Christie’s immigration status became an issue, and when the couple went to court this spring seeking asylum for him (Jamaica is a notoriously dangerous place for gay people), Henderson told the judge that were Christie allowed to stay, the two would be getting married as soon as gay marriage became legal.

Henderson is particularly impressed by his young paramour’s knowledge of the gay-rights movement. “He knows more about Stonewall than people from that generation,” says Henderson, referring to the historic bar in the West Village where the gay-rights movement coalesced back in 1969.
--JB

Maria Romagnuolo and Wendy Bloom-Romagnuolo

Spilling a drink on someone usually earns you a an expletive and maybe a dry-cleaning bill. But for Maria Romagnuolo and Wendy Bloom-Romagnuolo, it resulted in a 21-year-long relationship—and now, a marriage.
It was Aug. 24, 1990, just a few days before Maria’s 28th birthday, and she was out at a Brooklyn nightclub to celebrate. The dance floor was set ablaze by the spasm of light and color from the checkered floor—the very same dance floor that provided the setting for the 1977 disco classic Saturday Night Fever. (The club had since become a gay bar.) Maria made her way through the crowd, eventually colliding with a dark-haired woman dancing beneath the disco ball. It was here where the drink was spilled and their two-decade-long love story began.
Today, Maria and Wendy, ages 49 and 48, live together in Staten Island with their twin boys, whom Wendy gave birth to in 1998. And although the club closed in 2005, the couple is ready to party like it's 1990 all over again. Friends and family are scheduled to fly in from Florida to celebrate after their wedding on Sunday. “I am so happy that this dream has become real,” Maria says. “I hope that everyone out there holds onto their dream as we did.”
--Evie Salomon

Alan Miles and Drew Glick

When Drew Glick's partner of nine years, Alan Miles, proposed they get married in his home state of Massachusetts in 2004 (after same-sex marriage was legalized there), Glick said yes, he'd get married, but no, not in Massachusetts. Raised in Manhattan, Glick couldn’t picture tying the knot anywhere else but home. “To me, there’s something not right about not being able to get married in your home state,” he says.
So they waited. For seven years.
“We couldn’t have imagined that it would take seven years to happen,” says Miles. “But it did, and here we are.” Miles’ experience watching as America’s first gay marriages were solemnized in Massachusetts was monumental. And so, after 16 years together, the couple has decided to marry on that same monumental day for the State of New York.
“One of the reasons we want to do it on Sunday is to have that shared opportunity,” says Glick. “Knowing that everyone there has dreamt of this day will make it such a collective experience.”
Miles and Glick, ages 45 and 46, are something of a power couple. Glick attended Tufts, and Miles went to Yale and Harvard Business School. Both are senior vice presidents in their places of work. And both look at marriage equality as a matter of principle.
“We’re no different than any couple," says Glick. “Obviously we think that the other is very special, but it’s fundamentally that we love each other and are committed to each other. That’s what marriage is all about.”
--ES