Thursday, January 9, 2014

Big Leaps And Little Steps In The March To Committment

Carola and Goldie

Everyone came to be witnesses of the paperwork that really makes a relationship.  

With everything signed, Goldie safely out of Jupiter's reach, a story I didn't know was told. 

It seemed, once upon a time, Herman Katz, New York City Clerk, refused to allow women who wore pants to City Hall to get married.  

Carola and Bob had friends in the NYCLU who, knowing that Herman Katz had this policy, and knowing that Carola and Bob were planning a wedding, and perhaps even knowing what they were planning on wearing to that wedding, asked them to be plaintiffs in a test case that would force Mr. Katz to be polite when faced with a woman in slacks, i.e., not be a moron.   So Carola and Bob signed affidavits and the lawyers took care of everything. 

They lost.  As a  courtesy the NYCLU arranged to have a judge marry them "in chambers" on December 20th, 1974.   

"I may actually have worn a skirt for that--I don't remember," Carola said.   

On December 21 they had their own ceremony in Carola's parents' living room.  Two couples, whose marriages they respected, read from the Book of Common Prayer questions (do you, so and so, take you, so and so).  She and Bob, however, rewrote the language to suit their politics.  

They also donned their merry apparel to suited their hearts and souls and fabulous style (at least for 1974).

"We both wore velvet pantsuits--he got his at Ohrbach's, but I had such a hard time finding one that worked for me that I had to have one made-to-order.  We then had a totally home-made buffet with a wonderful cake my mother made and a dance tape that Bob and I made." 

It's forty years later.  And of course, now everyone can be who they are and be with who they love and wear whatever they want at City Hall.  At least from watching the wonderful parade of everything, everyone did.


And there at Window Two, Miss Divina took $35, showed off her own wedding and engagement ring, and handed over a certificate that allows lots of different kinds of couples wearing lots of different things to be legally visible in the State of New York.

That certificate said the Mariner could not get evicted if I were to die, we could make medical decisions for one another if need be and most importantly we could visit each other in jail.   That certificate also said that, as two adults, we were agreeing to take on the other's life and be careful with it.   

There was nothing that said who had to wear pants.

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