On October 10, 2008, the Governor of California married Calvin Phelps and me. That transaction was legal back then, though within several weeks it wouldn’t be. The ceremony took place on the officiant’s back patio, and it was witnessed by several gubernatorial staffers, a middle-aged cockapoo, a miniature horse, and, if memory serves me, a couple of ducks.
It was an unorthodox moment in an unorthodox period in history. Calvin and I could have been married in any number of venues, by any number of officiants. It was as a favor that the governor did the honors – for the first of only two times in his administration – and I will always appreciate the gesture.
I wished almost immediately, however, that others could share in our sense of legality, of propriety. I didn’t expect to feel so privileged but that’s how I felt. I had something others should have, and very soon after the tenth of October the spigot of righteousness was shut off. It was hard to rejoice at what I enjoyed when I was sitting inside a golden fortress and so many other deserving people stood outside, wanting in.
This week the drawbridge was lowered, and Calvin and I welcomed countless couples in to join us. I’ve never been so glad to be part of a club that wasn’t exclusive.