Homonuptial stories: Marc and Charles

Pub date June 17, 2008
WriterMarke B.
SectionSF Blog

Maria Dinzeo reports from City Hall on some of the same-sex couples getting married today.

Marc Benson and Charles Sullivan descended the City Hall steps this morning amidst a thunder of applause and a flurry of flags and signs, one of which read, “It’s a Nice Day for Gay Wedding.” For this pair of high-school sweethearts, nothing could be more true. Although the two have been together 27 years, it wasn’t until today that a decision from California’s Supreme Court allowed them to formalize their commitment with a marriage ceremony.

Benson and Sullivan grew up together in Long Island, New York, and attended the same grammar and high schools, but did not become a couple until Benson went off to college. There, Benson befriended “a very persuasive lesbian” named Maxine. “She threatened me with bodily harm if I didn’t tell Charles how I felt about him,” said Benson.

The two married in 2004, when Gavin Newsom defied California law by issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, but as with all same-sex marriages performed at that time, it was voided in August 2004 by the state Supreme Court. “It bothers me that so many have tried to defeat this,” said Benson.

Sullivan said they registered for their marriage license online a month ago, as soon as they heard the court’s ruling. “I work for the city attorney who has been arguing this case, so I’ve been following it closely,” he said.

In spite of their many years together, Benson and Sullivan have had little difficulty maintaining the spark in their relationship. “I’ve never really stopped to think about why our relationship works so well,” said Benson. “Charles is very tolerant and patient with me. He lets me do anything I want.”

Though the two have no immediate plans to adopt children (their hectic work schedules prevent them), they plan to celebrate their nuptials with a party in October and a honeymoon in Patagonia.