Jim Eastin, 74, and Allan Murdock, 83, have been together for 43 years but on Monday they got a slip of paper that legally conferred upon them the status of “newlyweds.” There to officiate was their good friend, the openly gay mayor of Palm Springs, Steve Pougnet, presiding over his first same-sex wedding since 2008.
The end of Prop 8 has re-opened the door for couples like Jim and Allan to legally wed in California. Though they never had kids of their own, Jim and Allan took four younger people under their collective wing decades ago. One of them, their 60-year-old “daughter” Les Charles served as their witness.
“We met at Joely’s Bar in Los Angeles one night, and we found out right away we had a lot of friends in common,” Murdock told The Desert Sun. “Then one night, Jimmy came over for dinner, and stayed.” Allan was already in a relationship at the time, but his ex ended up living with him and Jim until his death in 1996.
Though they came of age in a time before It Gets Better and marriage equality in over a dozen states, Jim and Allan had a relatively easy go of it. Allan recalled his grandmother telling him to stand up for his rights and not to hide in the closet. Statistically speaking, his grandmother must have been born in the latter half of the 19th century, so that’s pretty remarkable in and of itself.
Going out as a trio, with Allan’s former partner in tow, also helped them deflect any suspicion of being a couple during the ’70s and ’80s. Then fourteen years ago they retired to Rancho Mirage. When they went to the mayor’s council chambers on Monday to pick up their license, Allan and Jim already had rings symbolizing their commitment, but they took them off in the name of pomp and circumstance.
“The art of marital life is often about putting your partner first, something I’m sure these two have been doing for many, many years,” Pougnet said before declaring the two men married. Jim and Allan kissed and hugged, then turning to the mayor, Jim asked him, “How are you? How’s your husband?”