Gay couple ready to make legal history

The cake will be chocolate, the readings will be from Winnie the Pooh and the setting will be a very English country garden. This is not the plan of a wedding soon to take place in Sussex or Surrey but rather in the United States. More specifically, we are in Provincetown, Massachusetts.

And that can mean only one thing - we are talking gay wedding. Fifty guests are invited to the marriage of Stephen Mascilo, 55, and Trevor Pinker, 54, on Thursday 27 May at one o'clock in the garden of the Oxford House, a gay inn with seven rooms that the happy couple have owned and run since 1998.

That all this is happening is as much of a shock to Steve and Trevor as to anyone else. Here they are, two British-born men who came to America 10 years ago and just recently received their US citizenships, preparing to marry. And they mean really marry. This will not be a commitment ceremony with no legal consequence. When they leave for their one-night honeymoon in Boston they will be wed in the eyes of the law - or state law, at any rate.

They will also have become part of a highly controversial moment in American history. It dawns tomorrow morning, when, thanks to a legal ruling delivered by the Massachusetts Supreme Court last November, town clerks here and all across the state will be allowed to issue marriage licences to same-sex couples. It is the first state to take the step.

Provincetown, a former fishing village on the tip of Cape Cod that for decades has been a favourite haven for gays and lesbians, will go haywire when the town hall opens at 8am. As many as 110 couples are expected to queue up for the forms that they must fill in to receive their marriage licences.

These final days have not been without drama. Last-minute manoeuvres by conservative opponents of gay marriage ended with an appeal late on Friday to the US Supreme Court to intervene to stop Massachusetts from going through with it. By all appearances, however, their tactics have failed. The Republican Governor of the state, Mitt Romney, has complicated matters further by decreeing that only gays living in Massachusetts should be allowed to marry. But Provincetown is planning to defy him. Officials here will issue licences to gays from any state.

"He is an evil man," blurts Trevor, by all appearances an entirely mild-mannered man who, before uprooting with Steve in 1994, was a GP in Purley. (His uncle, George Pinker, used to be gynaecologist to the Queen.) It was just after the Supreme Court pronounced last autumn that he casually asked Steve whether he would like to get married. "He said, 'Don't be silly'."

But then in March, the two of them had a scare. They were in the Caribbean, and Trevor, caught by a riptide, almost drowned. At the hospital, the staff did not think twice about letting Steve stay by Trevor's side. It would not have been that way in America. That jogged Steve into proposing over dinner when Trevor had recovered.

Now the caterers have been chosen, the couple have re-written their wills and bought two platinum rings. Each has been working on the words of the tributes they will read to one another before making their vows before a minister from the nearby Unitarian Universalist Church.

Though not the sort of gays who fit the stereotype of homosexual flamboyance, they do have one stunt up their sleeves. The week after their wedding, Provincetown will have a "bird-jump" competition, when scores of plucky competitors will leap off the end of the pier in a doomed attempt to fly. Steve and Trevor will do it; gay newly-weds in black tie with wings and red life-belts.

And they have chosen the music to accompany their watery lovers' leap - Frank Sinatra singing "Love and Marriage".

Sport
Lionel Messi pictured after reaching the final
world cup 2014
Sport
Lionel Messi and Thomas Muller have shone brightest for Argentina and Germany respectively on their way to the World Cup final
Sport
Brazilian fans watch the match for third place between Brazil and Netherlands
Brazil 0 Netherlands 3: Dutch pile on the misery in third place playoff
Arts and Entertainment
TV The follow-up documentary that has got locals worried
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Eminem's daughter Hailie has graduated from high school
music
News
Ian Thorpe had Rio 2016 in his sights
people
Arts and Entertainment
Original Netflix series such as Orange Is The New Black are to benefit from a 'substantial' increase in investment
TVHoax announcement had caused outrage
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

News
One Direction star Harry Styles who says he has no plans to follow his pal Cara Delevingne down the catwalk.
peopleManagement confirms rumours singer is going it alone are false
Voices
Mrs Brown's Boy: D'Movie has been a huge commercial success
voicesWhen it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Curtain calls: Madani Younis
theatreMadani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Arts and Entertainment
'Deep Breath' is Peter Capaldi's first full-length adventure as the twelfth Doctor
TVFirst episode of new series has ended up on the internet
Life and Style
Douglas McMaster says the food industry is ‘traumatised’
food + drinkSilo in Brighton will have just six staple dishes on the menu every day, including one meat option, one fish, one vegan, and one 'wild card'
Sport
Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

C# Payment Developer (Swift, FOX, Vigil, .NET, SQL)

£55000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Payment Dev...

Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, Accreditation, ITIL)

£70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, A...

C# Developer (HTML5, JavaScript, ASP.NET, Mathematics, Entity)

£30000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

C# Integration Developer (.NET, Tibco EMS, SQL 2008/2012, XML)

£60000 - £80000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Integration...

Day In a Page

Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?