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It’s noon on gay marriage day in D.C., and Manni Baez and Travis Romshak are pretty much at the end of the line. They got here around 10:3 a.m.; they expect to be waiting for another hour or two before it’s their turn to enter the Marriage Bureau and file their paperwork. If they’re lucky. Since opening at 8:30 a.m., the office has only processed about 50 couples.
At this point, most of the press has vacated its spot outside the courthouse; even the Fred Phelps-affiliated protesters have moved on. So, does the excitement wear off a bit after a few hours of just . . . waiting around?
“It doesn’t!” insists Baez. “Every time someone comes out of the office, everyone cheers,” he says. “They come out and walk down the hall, and it’s like they’re walking down the aisle.”
Then again, Baez and Romshak are still pretty much glowing from their engagement. In the grand scheme of things, the couple hasn’t been waiting for this all that long. “To be honest, it was a spur of the moment kind of thing,” says Baez of the marriage. “A friend brought up the idea, and we said, ‘let’s do it!'”
The couple has been together “not very long,” says Romshak—-“officially, seven months.” Recently.t their relationship escalated when Baez, a flight attendant, learned that he might be getting transferred to a new city. Romshak informed a friend of the news; she asked him if he was planning on joining him. “I said, ‘Of course!'” says Romshak. “So she asked why we didn’t just get it over with and get married. I didn’t think anything of it at the time.” Then, Romshak got home and told Baez about the conversation. “I said, ‘Well, yeah, that makes sense,'” says Baez.
The line outside the D.C. Marriage Bureau will be the only chance Romshak and Baez have to “walk down the aisle” in front of dozens of onlookers—-they’re planning on registering for an “intimate” civil ceremony at the courthouse.