The Sexist

Gay Marriage in D.C.: One Officiant, Three Months, 44 Same-Sex Weddings


When same-sex marriage was legalized in D.C. this March, Mike Newman offered himself up to officiate local gay marriages free-of-charge. Since them, Newman has wedded 44 of the District's same-sex couples—and one opposite-sex pair. Here's a taste of the ceremonies he's seen:

* "Most of them I’d describe as sort of guerrilla-style," Newman says of the typical same-sex wedding he's been called to officiate.  "We'll find a public space and do a ceremony that lasts only a minute or two . . . most of the the time it's just the couple says," he says. Newman, 43, says his officiant style is likely to attract more casual couples: "I'm obviously not a wedding professional, and I made it known I'm up for doing this wherever, whenever," he says.

* Also turning to Newman: Couples who don't want to get hassled by mainstream officiants of unknown tolerance level. "A lot of people I’ve spoken to are used to seeing a lot of discrimination. If they just make a blind phone call to an officiant and it comes out that it's a gay wedding, it can turn out to be a big deal," says Newman. "I'm vocal about wanting to perform these weddings, so they know right away it's not a problem."

* Since March, Newman has performed same-sex weddings in front of the Capitol, outside the U.S. Botanic Garden, in various local restaurants, on the roof of the Newseum, and in his own Capitol Hill living room. "A lot of people just drop by my house," says Newman."We've done half-a-dozen or so in my home, either in the living room or in the backyard," he says.

* Since March, Newman has also lent his services to a couple of heterosexuals. "I’ve performed one opposite-sex marriage in the past few months," says Newman. "It was a couple who said they were waiting to get married until their friends could get married, so it was a part of the same trend."

* On the first day same-sex marriage was legal in D.C., Newman performed eight weddings. Now the demand has tricked down to about one wedding a week. As demand has gone down, Newman's rate has increased. "I have recently started charging for the weddings," says Newman. As of a few weeks ago, the current going rate for his services is about $50 a pop. He's also recently taken on an apprentice—Newman recently endorsed his wife to become an officiant, as well.

Photo via Mike Newman

  • shadow_man

    For those of you claiming homosexuality is a "lifestyle", that is a false and ignorant statement. Homosexuality is not a choice. Just like you don't choose the color of your skin, you cannot choose whom you are sexually attracted to. If you can, sorry, but you are not heterosexual, you are bi-sexual. Virtually all major psychological and medical experts agree that sexual orientation is NOT a choice. Most gay people will tell you its not a choice. Common sense will tell you its not a choice. While science is relatively new to studying homosexuality, studies tend to indicate that its biological.

    http://www-news.uchicago.edu/releases/03/differential-brain-activation.pdf
    http://www.newscientist.com/channel/sex/dn14146-gay-brains-structured-like-those-of-the-opposite-sex.html
    Gay, Straight Men's Brain Responses Differ
    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,155990,00.html
    http://www.livescience.com/health/060224_gay_genes.html
    http://www.springerlink.com/content/w27453600k586276/
    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/80beats/2008/06/16/172/

    There is overwhelming scientific evidence that homosexuality is not a choice. Sexual orientation is generally a biological trait that is determined pre-natally, although there is no one certain thing that explains all of the cases. "Nurture" may have some effect, but for the most part it is biological.

  • shadow_man

    Homosexuality is not a sin according to the Bible. Any educated Christian would know that. Scholars who have studied the Bible in context of the times and in relation to other passages have shown those passages (Leviticus, Corinthians, Romans, etc) have nothing to do with homosexuality. These passages often cherry-picked while ignoring the rest of the Bible. The sins theses passages are referring to are idolatry, prostitution, and rape, not homosexuality.

    (Change *** to www)
    ***.soulfoodministry.org/docs/English/NotASin.htm
    ***.jesus21.com/content/sex/bible_homosexuality_print.html
    ***.christchapel.com/reclaiming.html
    ***.stjohnsmcc.org/new/BibleAbuse/BiblicalReferences.php
    ***.gaychristian101.com/

  • WARD4NDC

    I never knew a white person marrying a Mexican or a Latino was ever illegal in the United States. Desi Arnez and Lucille Ball were married in the 40's, although Desi Arnez was a white Cuban.

    The woman in this picture appear to be Latina, therefore here sign is ridiculous.

  • http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/sexist Amanda Hess

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  • http://mrmoonpie.com mrmoonpie

    I'm sensing an educational opportunity...

    Loving v. Virginia was the 1967 Supreme Court case which overturned all existing state laws preventing interracial marriages, including the Virginia law that was actively enforced at the time. Although she may appear to be Latina, my wife is, I assure, quite Black, and I am quite White. Since our marriage took place in Virginia, WARD4NDC needn't worry about the accuracy of our sign.

  • EmilyBites

    Sorry to derail, but the first comment...bisexuals 'choose' who they're attracted to, do they? So basically they're just greedy little sex fiends?
    I think you'll find that bisexuality is as valid a sexual orientation as homo- or hetero-.

    (p.s. I think Mike Newman is a good person doing a good job, as is his wife!)

  • eviltiff

    WARD4NDC - You may be interested to see this chart of specific state laws which were overturned by Loving vs. Virginia banning the marriage of Whites and Hispanics. So, ironically, we would have been in the same boat even if I were Latina.

  • eviltiff

    Oh, I forgot to mention that I am Mrs. Newman.

  • noodlez

    YOU ARE NOT BORN A HOMOSEXUAL!

    YOU ARE BORN EITHER AS A MALE OR FEMALE. THAT IS THE NATURAL ORDER OF THINGS. OF COURSE THERE ARE THOSE FOLKS THAT ARE BORN WITH MULTIPLE SEX ORGANS BUT THEY DONT QUALIFY AS A HOMOSEXUAL AS PART AND PARCEL OF THE DEBATE.

    AT SOME POINT IN YOUR LIFE YOU CHOOSE TO HAVE SEX. THOSE THAT HAVE IT WITH THE PERSON OF THE OPPOSITE SEX WITHIN THE PROPER FRAMEWORK ARE NORMAL. THOSE WHO HAVE IT WITH THE SAME SEX ARE ABNORMAL. ANYONE WHO CAN’T CONTROL THEIR SEXUAL URGES IS NOT RIGHT. BE IT PRIESTS WHO HAVE SEX WITH YOUNG BOYS, BE IT FEMALE TEACHERS WHO HAVE SEX WITH YOUNG BOYS, BE IT OLDER MEN AND WOMEN WHO HAVE SEX WITH UNDERAGE GIRLS, BE IT FOLKS WHO EXPLOIT YOUNG CHILDREN AND WOMEN FOR SEX FOR FINANCIAL GAIN AND BE IT FOLKS WHO ENGAGE WITH FOLKS OF THE SAME SEX FOR SEXUAL SATISFACTION.

    I AGREE WITH YOU THAT IT IS BIOLOGICAL BECAUSE IT INVOLVES THE HUMAN BODY BUT TO CLAIM THAT "Sexual orientation is generally a biological trait that is determined pre-natally, although there is no one certain thing that explains all of the cases." IS PURE BULL SHIT AND YOU HAVE NO EVIDENCE OF SUCH. THERE ARE SEVERAL CATEGORIES THAT PROBABLY CAUSE SOME FORM OF HOMOSEXAULITY BUT TO BE “BORN ONE” IS NOT IT.

    TO CLAIM AND EQUATE HOMOSEXUALITY WITH SKIN COLOR JUST SHOWS THE LEVEL OF IGNORANCE SOME OF YOU THANGS HAVE WHEN IT COMES TO THE MATTER. FURTHER TO PROP UP THE ILLEGALITY OF INTERRACIAL MARRIAGES FROM BACK IN THE DAY AS SOME PARALLEL UNIVERSE TO YOUR PLIGHT IS WRONG AND DISRESPECTFUL ON MANY LEVELS.

    PERSONALLY I REALLY DONT GIVE A SHIT IF GAYS MARRY. I DO GIVE A SHIT WHEN A KNOWN HOMOSEXUAL, WHO SITS ON THE DC COUNCIL, INTERPRETS AND PASSES LAWS TO BENEFIT THOSE HE RUN WITH BECAUSE HE KNOWS THAT IF IT WAS DONE THE PROPER AND LEGAL WAY THIS WOULD BE A NON-DISCUSSION HERE IN WASHINGTON, DC!

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  • notmonolithic

    @ WARD4NDC: Do you realize that latino and hispanic are NOT races? There are latinos (even mexicans) with natural blond hair and skin so fair they burn to a red crisp when out in the sun, with strictly western european (white) ancestry. There are black latinos (yep, even mexicans) with african roots. And, of course, native american latinos - who lead lives not much different than their incan/mayan/aztec ancestors.

    And many, many of us who are a mix of all of the above.

  • http://www.TechnoFem.com Emeryn

    @shadow_man

    As a bisexual female, I can assure you that who I'm attracted to is not a fucking choice. Just like how homosexuals cannot choose to be attracted to their own gender and heterosexuals cannot choose to be attracted to the opposite gender, bisexuals cannot choose to be attracted to both genders.

  • Beth

    I got married in my realtor's kitchen, and I'm not even gay. We didn't have a reception until eight months later. I feel so ahead of the curve.

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  • http://mrmoonpie.com Mike Newman

    It took me two more months, but I just performed my 50th wedding.

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