Chris and Shawn Riley, a gay couple from Elkridge, Maryland, have a lot of wedding invitations to send out: In the run-up to Question 6—the amendment that legalized marriage equality in the state—Chris posted a Reddit thread inviting anyone who voted for the measure to their nuptials next year.
“If gay marriage passes in Maryland, I will invite ANYONE that votes YES to my wedding ceremony!,” he wrote.
The Rileys were already married in a civil ceremony in DC in 2010, but decided to wait to have a traditional wedding until Maryland recognized same-sex marriages. “We came to the realization that we should not waste our time, energy, money, or emotions on a wedding here in a state that refuses to recognize our marriage in the first place,” Chris told Southern Maryland Online.
In the meantime they volunteered with Equality Maryland and testified about same-sex marriage at several hearings in the capital, Annapolis.
It was just two weeks before the election that Chris posted his public invitation. “I thought that it would maybe help sway votes in our favor if people got the opportunity to witness firsthand what a gay wedding looks like,” he said.
Shawn’s on board, too: “I think it’s a really cool, exciting idea that lets Marylanders see that we’re the same,” he says. “We bicker, we have our good times. We’re just like any other straight married couple.”
One thing is for sure: They’re not doing it for the presents. The guys are asking guests to donate $5 to the Human Rights Campaign instead of giving gifts.
Are you a Marylander who voted to approve equality? Check out the Rileys’ wedding website for details on attending.