Reverend Billy Holds an "UnMarriage Until Gay Marriage" Ceremony on Valentine's Day (VIDEO)
"Enjoy the last two minutes of your marriage," Rev. Billy Talen of the Church of Life After Shopping yelled, as on the most romantic day of the year the blissful couples prepared to negate their nuptials in solidarity with the same-sex marriage movement.
The happy twosomes -- some married, some in long-term relationships -- arranged themselves before a floral trellis. The theatrical activist and former mayoral candidate, who typically preaches an anti-consumerist gospel, then stepped forward to take a rather slushy pulpit, officiating the Valentine's Day mass "unwedding."
"Can I have a same-sex-elujah?" the Reverend bellowed, as his ashy blond pompadour bounced.
Delivering his Sunday sermon in "televangelist drag," he excoriated the government for the absence of gays' right to the rite.
He called marriage a "heterosexual vault."
The ceremonious and symbolic action came on the heels of recent same-sex marriage bills defeats in New York and New Jersey, and as a California court readies to rule on a legal challenge to Proposition 8.
Chris Synder and Rebecca Stanton stood in the crowd before the Reverend, ready to trade "I don'ts." Had the straight couple not been able to legally tie the knot eight and a half years ago, they would have been separated before this, since Stanton hails from New Zealand.
"We feel very deeply, how much would it suck if we had fallen in love and we were both of the same sex and I couldn't have gotten a green card?" she reflected.
The 50 other couples assembled there felt much the same, and when the time came they looked into each others' eyes, held hands, and halted their legal promises. Some already unmarried couples promised not to marry, in solidarity.
Leo Glickman and his wife Debbie Nabavian retracted their vows with a hope that marriage equality would be part of their three-year-old daughter's future. "The idea that if she were gay she couldn't enjoy the same rights and privileges and joys that her parents enjoy in marriage makes us angry and makes us want to support gay marriage," Glickman said.
Clutching unmarriage certificates, couples said they would continue to fight for their gay and lesbian friends, whose enduring relationships lack the legal benefits that they enjoy. "After today, I'm just going back to Young," joked Georgina Young-Ellis, who unmarried her husband Jonathan of 22-years.
She believed their unmarriage would last for a much briefer period of time.
"Once some people are out of office and other people in, this vote can happen," she said encouragingly, as she held a single red rose in a handkerchief tied in a rainbow ribbon. .
More video on the next page.