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Given the ambivalent history of same-sex marriage in this country—-in 2008, gays in California only had a five-month window to get hitched before their newly-minted rights were revoked—-many gay couples are understandably eager to redeem their marriage rights at their earliest convenience. If you’re one of those gays, Mike Newman is your guy.
This Wed., March 3 is the first day that same-sex couples may apply for marriage licenses in the District of Columbia. For some, the rush to secure a legal license may have overshadowed more ceremonial concerns—-like locating an officiant to solemnize the wedding. In order to apply for a marriage license with D.C. Superior Court, applicants must first list the name of the person who will be officiating the wedding ceremony. For those couples who want to get married ASAP but are still short a judge or minister, Newman has volunteered himself to do the deed.
Newman, 43, was ordained through World Christianship Ministries, an online church which caters to men and women who want to “become an ordained minister almost immediately” through “legal ordination by mail.” Whatever—-since Newman completed his paperwork in 2007 in order to perform the wedding of a friend, he’s grown into the ceremonial role. Last October, Newman and his wife—-an interracial couple—-attended the National Equality March with a picket sign that read, “Our Marriage Was Once Illegal, Too” (The couple met in 2002 through a City Paper personals ad that read, “Every time you answer someone else’s ad, God kills a kitten. Tall urban hipster urges you to please, think of the kittens”). “There were people hugging us and crying. It was a very emotional moment, and it was so uplifting for us personally,” says Newman. “I thought, well, maybe I can go a step further and directly contribute to people’s marriages.”
As for the logistics of your shotgun ceremony, Newman says he’s flexible. “I could meet people out somewhere, or we could form a line going out the door of my house,” says Newman. If you’re in a rush, he can get you in and out the door in five minutes: “Technically, all I really have to say ‘you’re married’ and sign my name on your license,” he says. If you interested in staging a more involved ceremony, Newman says he may be able to work something out, too.
Since Newman is a guy who was ordained over the Internet who has expressed interest in officiating a mass wedding, perhaps a disclaimer is in order—-he’s not looking to get any cash out of this. The service, Newman wrote in a blog post, will be entirely “pro bono, of course.” If you’d like to enlist Newman as your officiant, go ahead and shoot him an e-mail.
Photo via Mike Newman