Under the glare of TV news cameras, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray on Tuesday performed a wedding ceremony for a gay male couple in a reception room outside his office at the John Wilson City Hall Building.
Gray told D.C. residents Rob Robertson and Carlos Taylor and close to 50 friends and relatives who turned out to see them tie the matrimonial knot that he was pleased that the couple approached him to perform his very first wedding ceremony under a newly passed D.C. law.
The Marriage Officiant Act of 2013, which the D.C. Council passed and Gray signed earlier this year, among other things, gives the mayor and the 13 City Council members the authority to perform marriages. The bill became law on Nov. 5 after clearing its required review by Congress.
“One of the reasons that this particular ceremony is such a great honor for me is that it represents the cause for which I have been a long-time advocate,” Gray told the gathering. “To me, marriage equality and equal rights are matters of basic fairness and justice,” he said.
Robertson and Taylor each were born and raised in Virginia and moved to D.C. in 1996 and 1997 respectively. The two said they met in 1997 through a mutual friend, began dating in the summer of 1999, and have been a couple since that time. Both also work as Information Technology professionals and live in Adams Morgan.
They said their friend, gay activist Peter Rosenstein, suggested they consider letting Mayor Gray perform their wedding at a time when Rosenstein told them the Marriage Officiant Act was about to become law.
“We wanted to get married and we were having a drink with Peter and he said I know the mayor and I can introduce you, and maybe he’ll be willing to marry you,” Robertson told the Blade. “We thought it was a fantastic idea.”
“Peter reached out to the mayor and the mayor responded by saying it would be awesome,” said Taylor as he and Robertson mingled with well-wishers after the ceremony. “And that’s how we got here, and he’s been very welcoming.”
Gray told reporters he was happy to accept Robertson and Taylor’s request for the wedding ceremony and was “very pleased” that a gay couple became the first couple he was able to marry.
“If people ask me I’ll be happy to do it,” he said when asked if he plans on performing marriage ceremonies on a regular basis. “It could be a heterosexual couple. It could be a same-sex couple. That would be fine with me.”
The mayor accompanied Robertson and Taylor and their guests in an adjoining room after the ceremony for a Champagne toast in honor of the two grooms and to share in consuming a large wedding cake donated by local pastry chef Padua Player of the D.C.-based Suga Chef Desserts.