On June 28, Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo, the gay couple whose lawsuit challenging Proposition 8, California's now-overturned ban on same sex marriage, will celebrate their wedding at The Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles. Attorneys Ted Olson and David Boies, who argued the couple's case before the U.S Supreme Court, will officiate.
Katami and Zarillo chose June 28 because that date marks the one-year anniversary of the Scotus ruling resulting in the final defeat of Prop 8.
Katami and Zarrillo describe themselves as "regular guys who just happened to love each other." They spoke to SF Weekly about their upcoming nuptials.
They said that that Loving v. Virginia, the landmark 1967 Supreme Court ruling that lifted state bans on interracial marriage, was part of their inspiration. "The case was referred to many times throughout the court proceedings," they said. "There were many parallels, many analogies, in both rulings."
"I'm really excited," said Zarillo. "It's important to get married and make a point."
The guys addressed the fact that some of the major gay advocacy groups, including the Human Rights Campaign, which later supported their lawsuit, were initially against their action.
"I think it was understandable that there was going to be skepticism," said Katami. "Ours was the first such federal suit. It was a bold move. It was going to see if we could move the movement forward. It was moving too slowly, and was looking like a decades-long struggle. We took a lot of heat and were called troublemakers. But we didn't want to wait until we were 80 or 90."
And now, as a direct result of Katami and Zarillo's successful suit, courts all over the country are tossing gay marriage bans in various states, including in conservative strongholds like Utah and Oklahoma.
"What's happening across the USA is a tipping point," said Katami. "These rulings say that discrimination against Americans is unconstitutional. If you strip away the marriage question and ask about equality, then people say 'yes.' You can have your beliefs in your own home or community, but we have to affirm equality."
Katami also spoke of certain "Queer radical" groups who've campaigned against marriage equality because the "don't want to be like straight people."
"When you see people whose lives have been destroyed, it's not assimilation, it's protection when you can marry," he said.
"We have to keep moving forward," said Zarillo. "If they don't want to take advantage of these rights, that's up to them."
One key question remains. What will the handsome couple wear to their reception? Tune in tomorrow, as they might say on Days of Our Lives.