My Big Gay Illegal Wedding
December 10, 2013 7:38 AM   Subscribe

Tim Gunn and the ACLU present "My Big Gay (Il)legal Wedding", a contest for same-sex folks in non-marriage equality states to come up with the most creative ways to cross state lines into a marriage equality state and get married. The winning couples will receive $5,000 for their wedding expenses, assistance from a wedding planner and a trip to New York for an event, planned for March, styled like a wedding reception.
posted by roomthreeseventeen (24 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
It's a punch in the gut to read that so many of their "bucket lists" are made up of things opposite-sex couples couples take for granted.

I was particularly choked up by Cinnamon and Jamia's desire to jump the broom. Back in the days of slavery in America, the custom was used to seal unions between slaves who weren't allowed to marry legally. Since then, it's been incorporated into the legal weddings of many Black couples as a way of preserving their ancestors' traditions, and here's a modern Black couple, not allowed to legally marry, who wants to jump the broom like everybody else.

In conclusion, everything is better with Tim Gunn. He makes it work.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:23 AM on December 10, 2013 [7 favorites]


This sounds like an awesome idea, and I look forward to the inevitable social media sharing that will result from the stories that will come out of it.

Just a word of caution, since we just (literally like, less than a week ago) started getting into this (yay, finally) here in Hawaii...let's not have any tragic tales of anyone trying to pull a Kon Tiki okay? I think that would be a bit much.
posted by trackofalljades at 8:27 AM on December 10, 2013


For serious illegality, they need some Wisconsin contestants.

Section 765.30(1) of the Wisconsin Statutes makes it a crime punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 or imprisonment for up to 9 months for a "person residing and intending to continue to reside in this state" to go "outside the state and there contracts a marriage prohibited or declared void under the laws of this state."
posted by Area Man at 8:48 AM on December 10, 2013 [8 favorites]


I noticed it was specifically prohibited for Wisconsin (and Virginia) residents. Boo.
posted by padraigin at 8:56 AM on December 10, 2013


Oh, I missed that. I guess that makes sense. I think, however, that something should be done to draw attention to the legal situation in Wisconsin. That law is so ridiculously unjust and there ought to be a way to use that to advance the cause.
posted by Area Man at 9:01 AM on December 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


What you could do is have a couple go get married, then get busted for it and have that declared unconstitutional - a la Lawrence vs. Texas. But there is non-zero risk involved - and in an election year in a purple state, I highly doubt AG Van Hollen would dare bring charges anyway.

Otherwise, there is a repeal of the law. But, Governor Walker has said that he is pleased with the state of affairs with regards to gays - says they have a "healthy balance" and he enjoys tremendous popularity in the state, as do legislative republicans throughout the state.

The WI dem party is as feckless and timid as it is ineffectual, lacking in leadership and backbone. Even if they won a significant majority, I highly doubt they would have the stones to repeal either the law punishing gay marriage, or constitutional amendment outlawing it.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:17 AM on December 10, 2013


Section 765.30(1) of the Wisconsin Statutes makes it a crime punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 or imprisonment for up to 9 months for a "person residing and intending to continue to reside in this state" to go "outside the state and there contracts a marriage prohibited or declared void under the laws of this state."

Why prohibit it for Wisconsin and Virginia residents? The contest is sponsored by the ACLU. There is no way that those laws would survive a constitutional challenge. Is it even legal under federal law for a state to punish a resident for committing a legal act outside the jurisdiction of that state?

I'm honestly shocked that no activist has already violated these laws and demanded to be arrested in Wisconsin for it.
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch at 9:19 AM on December 10, 2013


Why prohibit it for Wisconsin and Virginia residents? The contest is sponsored by the ACLU.

I'm sure they'd defend anyone who ran afoul of those odious statutes, but they probably don't want to be accused of inciting criminal activity, which takes the focus off the issue at hand and puts it on the ACLU, which is a proven moneymaker for the Right.
posted by Etrigan at 9:32 AM on December 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm sure they'd defend anyone who ran afoul of those odious statutes, but they probably don't want to be accused of inciting criminal activity, which takes the focus off the issue at hand and puts it on the ACLU, which is a proven moneymaker for the Right.

Maybe we need a crowdfunder buy married gay couples houses in Wisconsin.
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch at 9:39 AM on December 10, 2013


As far as I'm concerned, the ACLU wouldn't be the one supporting an illegal act.
posted by Zalzidrax at 10:02 AM on December 10, 2013


The Wisconsin Democrats do seem feckless. They can throw big protests and hold recall elections, but that's no substitute for actually winning elections.

What's frustrating is that the Wisconsin electorate isn't that conservative. They've voted for Obama twice and elected Tammy Baldwin last year. Victory shouldn't be out of reach.
posted by Area Man at 10:12 AM on December 10, 2013


That's just it - the protests and the recalls dragged the dems along behind them. The state party offered the most tepid of support and national party basically disavowed both the protests and the recalls.

I'm impressed Baldwin got elected, actually - but I think that is anomalous. Now with the changes to voter registration impairing GOTV efforts, a lack of any good back bench dem candidates, rudderless and ineffectual dem leadership, and of course, highly effective republican gerrymandering, WI is now a red(dish) state and will remain that way for the foreseeable future.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 10:30 AM on December 10, 2013


I read things differently. It seemed to me like the protests and recalls were a distraction that alienated the swing parts of the electorate. A lot of time, money, and energy was wasted on what seemed to many like the reaction of sore losers. Better to have spent the time recruiting candidates, re-building the party's grass roots infrastructure, and otherwise preparing for the election.

The idea that the laws are made by the party that won the regularly scheduled elections is not that controversial.
posted by Area Man at 10:40 AM on December 10, 2013


passing laws to arrest and fine people for getting married in a different state is pretty controversial and hugely shitty.
posted by nadawi at 10:52 AM on December 10, 2013


passing laws to arrest and fine people for getting married in a different state is pretty controversial and hugely shitty

I agree. I don't like that law either which is why I brought it up in the first place. I think it actually pre-dates the current legislature, but that's no excuse for not repealing it and starting the process to amend the state constitution.
posted by Area Man at 10:58 AM on December 10, 2013


i guess i just more mean this post is about something other than the democrats overall strategy in wisconsin...
posted by nadawi at 11:02 AM on December 10, 2013


Good point. I'll stop my part of the derail starting now.
posted by Area Man at 11:03 AM on December 10, 2013


Area Man, I was in Madison for the protests, and I got the feeling that the only reason there was time and energy was because people were seriously ticked off at a group with the barest of majorities trying to radically change things. And not even pretending like they were at all considering the opinions of anyone who disagreed with them. I think that last bit is what caused things to blow up so big.

It was divisive national politics coming home to roost in a place where people considered themselves moderate and conciliatory and it ticked *alot* of people off. There was plenty enough anger to force a recall election.

It's not like the Wisconsin democrats got to choose to spend time or energy or money. That was there for the taking with all the anger Walker's policies had caused. They just failed to capitalize on it.

Errr sorry for the derail, but I kinda had to get that off my chest.
posted by Zalzidrax at 11:14 AM on December 10, 2013


There are some couples up and I'm gald to see they aren't from Pennsylvania. Nothing against that state, but its good to have some geographic diversity.
posted by Area Man at 11:28 AM on December 10, 2013


i was wondering about the locations and excited to see some different states pop up. reading the page again it looks like the south is pretty much kept out of this contest. Couples must live in a state where marriage for same-sex couples is not legal and adjacent to one where it is legal. which sucks, since it could be argued that those are the couples that need this the most. if it's only a question of a quick ferry or train or car ride, those couples are more able to get married. when you're a low income couple in a state like arkansas or alabama, the trip is a much higher burden.

all the same, i'm loving reading all the stories and seeing the smiling couples. here's hoping within a couple years all these sorts of things won't be needed any longer.
posted by nadawi at 12:48 PM on December 10, 2013


Yeah, why can't a couple say that their "Big, Gay (Il)legal Wedding Idea" is, for instance, to drive up I-35 through a state or two until they get to Iowa? I don't see how that would undermine the campaign.
posted by Area Man at 1:21 PM on December 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


There are some where gay marriage is legal.

There are states where there are laws that say gay marriage is not recognized in any way by that state's laws.

There are some interesting possibilities for anyone who wants to have a marriage between one man, and one woman, and themselves.

Tim Gunn, if you want ratings you really need to get on this.
posted by yohko at 7:20 PM on December 10, 2013


I've had "Tim Gunn, Tim Gunn, If He Calls Your Name, You're Done" (0:20) running through my head all day.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:17 AM on December 11, 2013


And New Mexico makes 16.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:24 AM on December 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


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