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Aug 2, 2011 12:33 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

First Lesbian Couple Weds In Southampton

Aug 3, 2011 4:22 PM

It was a no-frills arrangement. After being together for 33 years, Carole Losee and Tracy Boyd of Bridgehampton were ready to tie the knot the second the Marriage Equality Act was approved by the New York State Legislature on June 24. Emails and phone calls served as wedding announcements, and wedding gifts were discouraged.

“After 33 years, we don’t need any more toasters,” Ms. Losee said, laughing.

The two ladies have the distinction of being the first lesbian couple to marry in Southampton Town. On the morning of July 27, just two days after the new law took effect, Ms. Losee, 80, and Ms. Boyd, 65, exchanged wedding bands in the shade of a tree just outside Town Hall.

“It was a great moment for us,” Ms. Losee said. “In a few weeks, I will be 81, and there are some things I kind of gave up on.”

Like many gay and lesbian couples, Ms. Losee and Ms. Boyd have been waiting for years to claim the same rights that heterosexual married couples have. The two watched anxiously as politicians delivered passionate speeches on June 24, the night the bill was approved. The live stream seemed to go on forever.

“We stayed up, at least I did, because Carole got kind of tired,” Ms. Boyd said. “It was incredibly moving, and at that point we didn’t think it had a prayer of passing. I was sitting on the edge of my chair. I couldn’t believe it went through.”

Ms. Boyd and Ms. Losee first met in 1959, and then reconnected on Gay Pride Day in 1978 in a gay bar in New York City. “We just picked up like we hadn’t lost track,” Ms. Boyd said. “We always had wonderful conversations, and we just went out and left the bar immediately.”

“Yes, I couldn’t stand it,” Ms. Losee said of her first and last time in a gay bar.

“We went and had a cup of coffee,” Ms. Boyd continued. “We started seeing each other immediately.”

Southampton Town Clerk Sundy Schermeyer has found that the gay couples who have contacted her about same-sex marriage since it became legal last month have been together for extensive periods of time. “Between 25 and 50 years,” she said. “They’ve had a commitment that obviously has been long-standing.”

Ms. Schermeyer performed five same-sex marriages last week, but she said she doesn’t expect a spike in requested marriage licenses. “The first week is going to be the busiest,” she said. “I do three to five weddings a week normally, and I don’t see that changing too much as we go forward.”

Eager to take the relationship to the next level, Ms. Boyd called the clerk’s office at 9 a.m. sharp the first day same-sex couples could apply for a marriage license.

“It was easy,” she explained. “I called the clerk’s office …”

“Immediately,” Ms. Losee added.

“… Like, the second I could,” Ms. Boyd said, finishing her wife’s sentence.

“I think we were getting edgy about not getting married because of the survivorship issue. I can’t live forever, although I think about doing that,” Ms. Losee quipped. Under the Marriage Equality Act, same-sex spouses have the same health and end-of-life rights as heterosexual couples.

“I don’t think our life is going to change,” Ms. Losee said later. “But it brought some relief.”

The process of obtaining a marriage license has been simplified on Southampton Town’s website, where a list of requirements is plainly laid out and a downloadable application is available.

Once they filled out the document, provided two forms of identification and two witnesses, and paid the $40 fee, the wedding ceremony was well on its way. “Tracy said to me, ‘You’re as nervous as you used to be at every graduation,’” Ms. Losee said, referring to a school she ran in the city.

In 1971, she opened and ran the Elizabeth Seeger School, an alternative high school in Manhattan, until her retirement in 1995. After the two reconnected in 1978, Ms. Boyd joined the school faculty as a photography and English teacher.

According to Jessica Best, the couple’s goddaughter, Ms. Losee had been boasting about the wedding ceremony days before—“like a little schoolgirl.”

Ms. Losee and Ms. Boyd lived in the same building as Ms. Best and her mother in the 1980s. After becoming good friends, Ms. Best’s mother asked them to be the girl’s godparents.

Not in contact with their families, Ms. Losee and Ms. Boyd have formed a family not only with Ms. Best but with former students and neighbors. “I think a lot of gays and lesbians do that anyway,” Ms. Boyd said. “They’ve had to live a very different life, and many of their families have not been particularly welcoming … so you make your own life.”

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Such a great story, So happy for them!
By EHDiva (7), East Hampton on Aug 3, 11 11:06 AM
3 members liked this comment
Congrats! Love the toaster line
By razza5351 (551), East Hampton on Aug 3, 11 11:34 AM
If anyone can say
"This I will remember when the rest of life is through
The finest thing I've ever done
Is simply loving you."

We all deserve an opportunity to love and get married if that is our desire.
It is a fundamental right for any serious and committed relationship.
I applaud the same-sex marriage bill.
By paulampeterson (9), Southampton on Aug 10, 11 8:06 PM
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