After 24 years together, Pat Dwyer and Stephen Mosher decided it was about time they get married. It was 2010 and same-sex marriage was not yet legal in New York State, where they live, so they decided to pack up and drive or fly to the states that would allow them to legally wed. All of them.
From Vermont to New Hampshire, Iowa, Massachusetts, California and Washington DC, the couple hosted low-key, intimate ceremonies and captured it all on film as part of Married & Counting. The documentary, narrated by George Takei, premieres August 11 at the Rhode Island International Film Festival. “For any gay couple to get married at this point in our history makes a statement, but what they are doing…there’s something aggressively joyful about it,” says Vince, the officiant of the New Hampshire wedding, in the film. “They’re saying to the world, very loudly, our happiness is not a threat to you, but we are here and we should be counted.”
The idea for the film came when Stephan and Pat, who met at college in Texas in 1985, started thinking about how they would celebrate being in a committed relationship for 25 years. But unlike straight couples, they could not marry in one state and have that one wedding render them legally married in all 50 states, so they decided they would marry in every state that they could. The plan was to culminate the wedding tour by marrying on the steps of the Supreme Court in Washington DC on the 25th anniversary of their coupledom on April 26, 2011.
They did just that, but the New York State Legislature threw them an alternate ending when it voted to legalize same-sex marriage on July 24, 2011. One of the most touching moments in the film comes when Stephen and Pat sit, holding hands, on the couch watching the vote, waiting for the legislators to decide their fate. “Our world changed like that,” Stephen says of the vote in the film.