A few month ago, Richard Neal, the owner of Zeus Comics, was so excited about the Supreme Court finally hearing the marriage equality case that he brought a change of clothes to his shop so that he and partner Chris Williams, who have been together 12 years, could rush to the courthouse the second it became legal in Texas. When I told him it wouldn’t be until June that SCOTUS likely decided the case, he was undeterred — he and Chris were fully prepared to drop everything and get hitched the second they could.
“We’re not going to miss this!” he told me. “Chris sees getting married as our civic duty to participate in what we’ve been fighting for. For me, it’s the validation for LGBT individuals and in particular LGBT youth to know that they can have real and whole relationships.”
This isn’t the first time they’ve affirmed their devotion to each other. They met more than a decade ago, “and followed that six years ago with an announcement in the Dallas Voice and a gorgeous ceremony with family and friends at the Texas Discovery Gardens at Fair Park. Though no piece of paper can give value to what we already have, it’s important to us that we make it official in Texas,” Neal says. (I was at that ceremony. It was charming.)
This morning, the second they heard about the decision, Neal and Williams jumped into action, texting me updates all morning. Here are some of his bulletins from the front lines:
“We saw two other gays running while we were looking for parking!”
Later: “We’ve filled out the application They’ve told us they’re waiting for the go-ahead. This place is chaotic.”
Then: “We’ve been told the clerk’s office is working on finding a judge to waive the waiting period — The media are interviewing people in line as if they’ve [already] been married.”
As of earlier this hour, it was still a madhouse of waiting, though progress was being made: “No one has been called yet. They’re crossing Ts and dotting Is. We’ve been told Judge George Tillery is making it happen [i.e., waiving the three-day waiting period for gay couples]. Once they get going, we’ll head over there to finalize [our marriage].”
It’s a tremendous time of support and excitement, Neal says: “Jack Evans and George Harris are now in the paperwork line! We’re still ahead of them in the process, but so great to see them here!”
We’ll update this post as Richard and Chris tell us more. Congrats, guys!
“Folks that have filed like us are being send to the probate court for finalization. … We’re in a court waiting with about another 50 couples. Judge Garcia is going to waive the 72 hour waiting period. She’s here now. Lots of applause.”
“We’re being addressed by John Warren. He said sam-sex marriage is now legal in all 50 states. He said licenses will begin being issued.”
Chris and I are the 7th couple [married in Dallas County]!”
“I should have brought snacks.”