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40, Love: I Can Hear the Bells

Today on Alphabet City: After a recent trip to Mexico City, Jon Paul’s ears are ringing—with wedding bells!

Swingers in Mexico

My trip down the wedding aisle has been a long time coming.  But after a recent trip to Mexico City, and a groundbreaking decision by a Massachusetts federal judge, I suddenly hear the bells drawing nigh.

Nearly nine years ago, I spontaneously popped the question to Chef on the balcony of our Mykonos hotel room balcony as the sun set over the white washed island landscape.  I knew that I needed to spend the rest of my life with a man who could survive my insistence that we move hotels in the middle of the night because my Condé Nasty snobbery couldn’t handle a gay ghetto dump.  We still reminisce about some of the best times of our lives lounging poolside at the comfortably hip Belvedere Hotel (not associated with the Fire Island “legend.”)

But our sitcom life took some funny detours and hit a few mandatory speed bumps that delayed any nuptials.  Before we knew it, ten years had passed as a couple, and I was left wondering why exactly we should go to the trouble (and expense) of getting “officially” married.  To our friends, we are firmly ensconced as a couple—after all, they refer to us as “The JPs.”

“If I do it, I want some kind of rights.  I want it to actually mean something,” I explained last month to my friend Kathryn.

She knows a thing or two about the complicated feelings around gay marriage as the head of GayWeddings.com, the leading online boutique dedicated to providing resources and information to same-sex couples who seek to affirm their life-long partnerships.

“Understandable.  But keep in mind that gay weddings can also be transformative.  And not just for the couple, but for guests at the event.  Sometimes it’s the first time straight people witness up close the love and commitment of a gay couple.  Often they end up becoming advocates for gay marriage rights,” Kathryn explained.

Indeed, the rights associated with gay marriage seem to be on a fast track for approval.  While I’m not sure Judge Tauro’s recent ruling in Boston that DOMA is unconstitutional will stand (it reminds me of my own father’s historic stance striking down Texas’ sodomy statute), it’s an important step for the United States in the right direction.  And I say U.S. for a reason—guess who’s doing it better?  Our South of the Border neighbor, that’s who.

During our recent trip to Mexico’s capital city, I asked an attorney friend what rights I might acquire should I marry Chef in his hometown.

“You can become a Mexican citizen!” he announced with a flourish.

Despite the fact that this is an incredibly progressive stance from a very Catholic country, I wondered what exactly would be gained from becoming a naturalized Chilango (slang for citizen of MX City).  Chef chimed in immediately.

“Skipping the lines at immigration, and buying property on the beach,” he offered.

“I’m not finding those so persuasive,” I replied.  Chef took a deep breath.

“Well, in case there’s a nuclear catastrophe in the States, it’ll be easier for us to come live in Mexico,” he said ominously.

“Sold!” I laughed.

How could I not marry someone with an overactive imagination fed by watching too many Hollywood apocalyptic movies?

It’s not happening any time soon, but a wedding in Mexico sounds like the makings of a very special episode—possibly a transformative one—for two lovable sitcom characters.  Stay tuned.

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