[The following is from an email sent by the Rev. Troy Perry, February 27, 2004]
Did you know:
In 1969, I performed the first same-sex church wedding at Metropolitan Community Church of Los Angeles, then located in Huntington Park, California. This was recently documented in Time Magazine’s coverage of same-sex marriage..
In 1970, in the first-ever court case of its kind, MCC sued the State of California seeking legal recognition for same-sex marriages. We lost that fight — but we launched three decades of debate and struggle for marriage equality.
In April of 1975, MCC performed the first-ever same-sex marriage performed with a civil marriage license. The ceremony took place in Denver, Colorado on April 21, 1975, and was performed by Rev. Elder Freda Smith and then MCC clergyperson Robert Sirico, and the witnesses were Rev. Elder Charlie Arehart and my longtime assistant, Frank Zerilli. I’ll share this entire story — a missing bit of our LGBT history — with you in another message soon.
In 1987, MCC participated in the first ever mass celebration of same-sex marriage. It took place in front of the Internal Revenue Service Building in Washington, DC as part of the second LGBT March on Washington. More than 1000 same-sex couples made their public wedding vows at that event.
In 2000, I was privileged to conduct what is still the world’s largest ever celebration of same-sex marriage. On that occasion, more than 3000 couples made their public vows before the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC — an event that was covered by CNN, CNBC, MSNBC, Fox News, The Washington Post, The New York Times, the Associated Press and hundreds of media outlets around the world.
On June 10, 2003, based on a lawsuit brought by Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto, a Canadian court struck down the heterosexual-only definition of marriage, ordering that marriage licenses be issued to same-sex couples in Canada.
In July of 2003, a longtime dream of mine was realized as my partner Phillip and I were legally married under Canadian law at MCC Toronto.
This year, in 2004, I was so thankful and honored to be named one of the “Voices of Freedom” by the Freedom to Marry Coalition in recognition of MCC’s work on behalf of marriage equality.
During February of 2004, MCC San Francisco, where Rev. Dr. G. Penny Nixon is senior pastor, officiated at numerous legal same-sex weddings and conducted California’s historic, first-ever same-sex church wedding with a legally issued civil marriage license. MCC clergypersons Rev. David Gant and Rev. Judy Maynard did the same thing as civil marriage licenses were briefly issued in New Mexico, and their ceremonies were carried around the world on CNN, The Los Angeles Times, and numerous media outlets.
And on February 23, 2004, my partner Phillip and I filed our lawsuit against the County of Los Angeles seeking California’s recognition of our legal Canadian marriage.