Dennis Mangers and Michael Sestak met about two decades ago in the Gay Men’s Chorus. But Mangers says it took them a while to start dating.
“It became pretty clear very early in the relationship that we thought we’d found the person.”
Their wedding is actually the third time they’ve exchanged vows. Ten years ago they held their commitment ceremony in the Napa Valley. In 2004 the pair married at San Francisco City Hall. That union was nullified by the courts—along with thousands of others. Then came the state Supreme Court’s decision last month. Mangers knew he had to act.
“And I immediately called Mike and said ‘will you marry me?’ And he said ‘did we win?’ and I said we did and he said well you know I will.”
So they put together another ceremony.
This one at the auditorium of the Secretary of State’s office. Mangers, who is a former Democratic Assemblyman, gathered their friends. They included top elected officials like State Treasurer Bill Lockyer, and Secretary of State Debra Bowen. The two stood smiling and happy before the packed house. Each had his own best man. Senator Sheila Kuehl officiated.
“This is such a new day and such an affirmation of the majesty of the law and the triumph of love.”
Then it was time for their vows. Sestack began:
“As I’ve come to know you over these past seventeen years, I’ve discovered that you are the one with whom I want to share the rest of my life.”
“And it’s hard for me to imagine anymore a me without a you!”
Then the moment they’d been waiting for:
“By virtue of the authority vested in me, by the state of California as Deputy Commissioner of Marriages and as a State Senator, I now pronounce you are married! (cheers)”
A reception complete with wedding cake followed the ceremony. Mangers said he was prepared for protestors but none showed up. The two will honeymoon next month in the Napa Valley.