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This line is nothing compared to the White House Easter Egg Roll of 2006. Four years ago, Terrance Heath and Richard Imirowicz waited in line overnight, in the snow and the freezing cold, in order to secure tickets for their son, now 7, to roll some eggs on the White House lawn. Imirowicz had come unprepared with little more than a sleeping bag—-what was he thinking?—-and the couple ended up crawling into a “lesbian tent” in order to stave off the cold (another couple had charitably invited them in). “Thank God for those lesbians,” says Imirowicz.
This was under the Bush administration, when even bringing your family to push around a couple of colored eggs on the grass was a political statement for a gay couple. “People were being told so many bad things about our families and who we are, that it was an opportunity for us to show how not scary we are,” says Heath. Today, Heath, 41, and Imirowicz, 43, joined the line at D.C. Superior Court to achieve a less symbolic victory—-securing all the legal rights owed to them as a married couple in the District of Columbia. “Like the rest of the couples in line, we’ve built up our family and relationship on our own, and finally the rest of society is catching up,” says Heath.
Not that the symbolic victories along the way haven’t been fun. Heath and Imirowicz have celebrated their union so many times that they’re not even sure what to celebrate as an anniversary. The day they met in June 10 years ago? The day in October of 2001 that they exchanged rings in Hawaii? The day in the summer of 2007 that they renewed their vows—-this time, in front of their son—-on an LGBT family cruise led by Rosie O’Donnell? Or, now, next Tuesday, when they plan to hold a small ceremony recognizing their legal marriage (finally!) at D.C.’s All Souls’ Church? How about the unknown date in the future when same-sex marriages are recognized across the United States?
“We’re not as married Mississippi as we are in Massachusetts,” says Heath. “There are a lot of families in states across the country that can’t do what we’re doing now.” If gay marriage does become a reality in all 50 states in their lifetime, Heath and Imirowicz aren’t eager to add another anniversary to the list. “As much as I love him, this will technically be the third time we’ve been married,” says Heath. “Our hope is that by the time our son is an adult, he’ll be able to look back on this week and wonder what the big deal was.”
As for the third ceremony, the couple is planning a small service for them and their children—-since the last time they’ve exchanged vows, they’ve fathered another child, a two-year-old. The affair will be modest. “We might take the kids to McDonald’s afterwards, pick up a Star Wars toy,” says Imirowicz. “At this point, we don’t need a big wedding.”
UPDATE: CP photos of the ceremony.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery