Because it wasn't yet legal in the United States, we decided to go to Toronto where Canada had recently legalized same-sex marriage. We knew that our marriage wouldn't yet be recognized in the United States, but in our eyes, we were making that commitment just the same.
In April 2006, we bought matching rings and exchanged them on a beautiful spring Sunday afternoon in the gardens of the Washington National Cathedral.
As we looked at the calendar to pick a weekend to go to Toronto, we decided to go during Toronto's annual Pride celebration, which would add another layer of fun to the weekend.
A week before we left, we were reviewing the details provided by Toronto's marriage office and noticed a line that we had overlooked previously. "Do not expect to find witnesses at City Hall. Please bring your own."
Because we had not invited anyone to go with us, we didn't quite know where to turn. How do you find someone willing to give up a few hours on a Friday morning for complete strangers? Remember, this is 2006. Before Facebook.
Why, Craigslist, of course!
We posted a simple message, a little background about us, and a photo with our need for two people to serve as witnesses. Within 24 hours, we had 10 responses... All from straight people! And each person who responded took time to share a little about themselves and some included photos! We ultimately chose three, just to be safe. Each had an interesting story about why they wanted to be part of our big day.
On Friday morning, June 23, 2006, the day of our marriage, we went downstairs for breakfast. The owners of the B&B made a big deal about the fact that we were off to City Hall to get married that morning.
Little did we know that the owners and other guests were beginning to plot something special for us.
We stayed in Toronto through the weekend, being tourists, taking in museums, the CN Tower and in particular, the massive Toronto Pride parade. The newspaper the next morning estimated that over 1 million people participated in and watched the parade.
What a celebration!
And it wasn't over.
After a fun long weekend, we had one more surprise waiting for us. When we landed at Washington National Airport, we were greeted by members of our church (Dumbarton UMC) with flowers, balloons, signs and even leis fashioned from hand-folded peace cranes.
One month later, Dumbarton held a pot luck dinner in our honor to continue the celebration. How blessed we are.