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Soulforce Founders Mel White and Gary Nixon Married in Pasadena


Another high-profile marriage took place on Tuesday. Soulforce and Equality Ride co-founders Mel White and Gary Nixon were married!

Our correspondent, Eric Gutierrez, was there and files this report for TOWLEROAD:

GuestbloggerAfter 27 years they finally made honest men of one another. Rev. Mel White and Gary Nixon, co-founders of Soulforce and the Equality Ride to combat spiritual violence against LGBT people, married today -- legally -- at All Saint's Church in Pasadena. The progressive Episcopal church, targeted by the IRS during the Bush Administration for its pro-peace, pro-justice ministry, was where the grooms first met.

"It was important to me that we marry here," White said before exchanging vows and tearing up, momentarily unable to continue speaking. That is until his soon-to--be husband gave him a playful, pull-it-together slap on the cheek.

All Saint's rector Ed Bacon presided over the intimate service with approximately 20 friends and family in attendance. He may have surprised a few parishioners and reporters present by noting that the marriage rites were not magic, that after exchanging vows the couple would be no more married than they were before. "Mel and Gary have been living these vows for almost three-decades already," he explained. What they now were, however, was legal, he continued, "a sacred rite of love and justice at the heart of Jesus' teaching and the California Supreme Court's decision" legalizing same-sex marriage.

Attending the small champagne and cookie reception following the service were several religious and social justice activists/friends, including Bishop Paul Egertson who was forced to resign in 2001 from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America for "defying church law as a matter of conscience" by supporting full LGBT civil and ecclesiastical equality; Chuck Phelan, member of the board of directors of Soulforce and the Metropolitan Community Church - Los Angeles; and Rev. Ed Bacon, among others.

The couple was last seen walking to their car to leave for their honeymoon in Laguna Beach. They return to their home in Lynchburg, VA on Friday.

According to Soulforce, media director Paige Schilt and her partner, Katy Koonce, and Soulforce Executive Director Jeff Lutes and his parter, Gary Stein, were married as well. Congratulations to them all.

Eric Gutierrez is the author of Disciples of the Street: The Promise of a Hip Hop Church and a recent graduate of the Harvard Divinity School.

(image courtesy soulforce)

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  1. Congratulations to Mel and Gary! And a huge debt of gratitude for their work that has been instrumental in making this not just a dream but a reality!! Keep it up, guys. Our prayers are with you.

    Posted by: Nick | Jun 19, 2008 8:36:22 AM

  2. Conratulations to Mel & Gary. We wish them much happiness.

    Posted by: Randi and Phil | Jun 19, 2008 9:10:06 AM

  3. Congratulations gentlemen and best wishes!

    You guys are on my long and ever growing list of genuine gay heroes. As a gay ChristianBuddhist I am grateful and amazed by your tireless efforts to promote loving kindness, justice and inclusion throughout the church and religious community. You truly represent the teachings and examples of Jesus the Christ (and the Buddha).

    Posted by: Zeke | Jun 19, 2008 12:05:15 PM

  4. It must be a blast being a gay couple in Lynchburg, home of Liberty University of Jerry Falwell fame.

    Posted by: anon | Jun 19, 2008 12:38:46 PM

  5. ANON, they actually bought a house directly across the street from Falwell's Thomas Road Baptist Church and they go to services there and sit on the front row whenever they're in town.

    He told Jerry that he can say whatever horrible things he wants to say about gays from the pulpit but he's gonna have to do it while looking two of them right in the eyes.

    I say, YOU GO BOYS!

    Posted by: Zeke | Jun 19, 2008 7:19:24 PM

  6. David R.W. Wadsworth

    11:19 AM (13 minutes ago)

    Mel White,

    I have read comments and statements by you and others attributing various things to "my husband...." or to "my wife".

    Very honestly, the use of "Husband" or "Wife" gives the listener more sexual information than anyone deserves! Being normal human being, when I hear someone say this, I can't help but say to myself, 'Ah, ha! I know what you like to do sexually!' And frankly, earnestly this is far more information than anyone needs and it cheapens the relationship in the eyes of other people.

    For about 40 years now, i have been try to influence gay people to stop using "husband" or "wife" to define their role in that relationship and use the gender non-sexual term "spouse". I think that word elevates all gay relationships and does not cater to the purient interests of most people. Some people will ask you anyway but that's okay. It lets you decide how to answer the person.

    Posted by: David R.W. Wadsworth | Dec 6, 2014 2:05:23 PM

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