by Alyson Gaharan and Erin Hebert
Dressed head-to-toe in white linen, Jim Cox and Tom Aubrey of Cathedral City walked through the doors of the City Council chambers on Tuesday. Both men were smiling as they prepared to exchange their vows with each other, the first same-sex couple to do so at City Hall.
In a ceremony officiated by Mayor Kathy DeRosa, Cox, 62, and Aubrey, 54, fought back tears of happiness as they finally did what they had been planning since Christmas — became husband and husband.
The couple knew they wanted to have a simple ceremony as soon as possible. When the courthouse in Indio offered same-sex marriage licenses for the first time Monday, they planned to exchange vows today – less than a week after the Supreme Court overturned Proposition 8 and DOMA.
DeRosa, who officiated Cox and Aubrey’s ceremony, was certified yesterday through an online ministry just for the couple, who consider her a close friend.
While she refused to take a political stance on same-sex marriage just months ago, DeRosa said today she didn’t think marriage should be a political issue.
“It should be about two people coming together in marriage,” she said. “And I’m truly honored they asked me to do the ceremony today.”
DeRosa was one of only three guests at the wedding. The couple’s photographer and a witness, Douglas Trueblood, were also present.
While they plan to invite family and friends to celebrate with them in March, Aubrey said today’s ceremony was about making their partnership official – not only as a symbol of their love, but also for the legal benefits.
If something happens to one of them, being married makes things much simpler. Aubrey said. Before Wednesday’s Supreme Court decision, he and his husband felt like second-class citizens, and they now enjoy all the same rights as other couples.
Cox said that at his age, he’s seen the progress the LGBT community has made over the years. The process was slow at first, he said, but people kept fighting for equality, and huge changes have been made in the last year.
“The progress is literally breathtaking,” Cox said. “Being gay all my life, I never imagined I’d be able to do this, marry my husband.”