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Home » PEOPLE AND PLACES in MA » MASSACHUSETTS (all topics) » Love Does Not Discriminate
(l) to (r) Marilla Martin, Butch Martin, Jack Martin, James Murdock, Frances Burger, and Paul Wender
Love Does Not Discriminate

Part 3 – A Family Affair

By Mark B. Oliver | October 01, 2010

Previous Article in this Series

In this installment ONE talks to James Murdock and Jack Martin who were married in October 2009.

James Murdock and Jack Martin

James Murdock and Jack Martin, who met in the Providence Public Library in 1999, were discussing their 10th anniversary in the fall of 2008, when they decided to get married in Provincetown.

“Jack and I had been coming to the Cape together for six years, and my parents live in Massachusetts, so that was naturally where we were going to celebrate our anniversary,” says James. “We live in New York, which recognizes out-of-state same-sex marriages, and with Massachusetts allowing non-residents to marry, it seemed perfect timing for us to get married.”

The couple had a tradition of visiting Provincetown every Memorial Day weekend, spending their time at The Masthead, a delightful property offering a range of different accommodations to suit the needs of their guests. Jack and James planned their wedding for Saturday, October 24, 2009, just three days after their actual anniversary.

Jack’s family lives in Georgia, while James’ parents live in Andover, Massachusetts. With friends coming from across the country, they felt it was important to ensure that every one of their guests would be given as much notice as possible so they could attend. In the end, 95 people attended.

James and Jack hired Ptown Parties to assist them with their wedding, and they both credit Dave Schermacher and Todd Wagar from the company for helping make the experience almost completely stress free.

“They helped James and me with so much, including making the arrangements for the rehearsal dinner the night before, finding the venue for the reception and organizing a superb buffet.”

Catherine Ionata

In Massachusetts, anybody can apply for a one-day marriage designation that will allow him or her to perform a legally binding wedding on that day. Catherine Ionata, who James had known for 17 years and Jack had known since he met James, had agreed to officiate at their ceremony. This arrangement provided the only hiccup in the preparations when, two weeks before the wedding, James discovered that Catherine hadn’t received the certificate she needed. With no certificate, there could be no wedding.

“That was extremely stressful; it would have really thrown a wrench in our plans, to say the least,” observed James wryly. “Thankfully, the Governor’s office was very accommodating and expedited the certificate, so we received it just in time.”

Wildflower of Provincetown

With the wedding in late October, Jack and James decided that at the rehearsal dinner, their guests should carve pumpkins (supplied locally) as a way of breaking the ice and for their families and friends to become better acquainted, which, judging from the photos, worked extremely well. The jack-o-lanterns adorned the tables as the centerpieces at the reception.

The couple planned to marry at The Masthead, but thirty minutes beforehand, as the rain clouds loomed, the soon-to-be-newlyweds switched to their backup plan and had their wedding at Saki, which was where they were having the reception. Despite the last minute change of plan, the wedding went without a hitch, with James’ nieces and the daughter of a close friend acting as flower girls (Wildflower of Provincetown supplied the flowers). Roy Martin was the best man and Rachael Kelley, the maid of honor.

The rain prevented the photographer from taking photos of the happy couple on the beach, but this was accommodated the following day.

“It’s a shame that we had to wait so long,” says James, “but it has been worth the wait. Being able to legitimately call each other husbands in the eyes of the law is invaluable, and there’s no mistaking what the word ‘marriage’ means when we tell people how we’re committed to each other.”

Next week, in this continuing series of articles, ONE revisits Betsy Reese and Darla Himeles as they discuss their wedding and the ramifications it has had on their lives.

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