Sept. 17, 2000, 12:50AM

Lesbians legally exchange vows

Marriage of same-sex couple from Houston a first for Texas

Copyright 2000 Houston Chronicle


SAN ANTONIO -- A lesbian couple from Houston were married Saturday night in a festive poolside ceremony that marked the first time same-sex partners have been legally betrothed in Texas.

The marriage of Robin Wicks and her transgender partner Jessica Wicks was attended by a few dozen friends and blessed by the Rev. John Nicholas, pastor of the Metropolitan Community Church.

They exchanged vows and rings before sealing their union with a prolonged kiss.

"We love each other. It's just that simple," said Jessica Wicks, a retired state worker who wore a formal white wedding dress.

"I'm on cloud nine," said Robin Wicks, who wore black pants, a tuxedo shirt and black vest to the twilight ceremony that was conducted with a backdrop of swaying banana and palm trees.

"What's sad is that the world doesn't let all the people that love each other to marry, because love is all there is," she said.

Their vows included a promise to share "the sweetness of life as well as the bitterness" and "to strive for a life of courage, faithfulness and dignity and to seek for understanding among all people."

The pastor, whose church serves gays, lesbians and others, told the couple "your simple presence here is testimony that love is stronger than hatred, hope stronger than despair and faith in God's goodness stronger than fear of people's malevolence."

The couple obtained a marriage license from Bexar County Clerk Gerry Rickoff on Sept. 6 -- after he was legally advised he had to -- under provisions of a recent intermediate-level court ruling that applies only in Bexar and 31 surrounding counties.

The decision from the San Antonio-based 4th Court of Appeals, in an unrelated civil lawsuit, was interpreted to mean that because Jessica Wicks had a birth certificate describing him as a male, that fulfilled the state's longstanding legal requirement that the couple to be married be of different sexes.

Although the couple beamed with pride as they took their vows in the courtyard of the Tuscan Villa apartments in northwest San Antonio, outside the secured complex, dozens of protesters held signs deriding the event.

"Remember Sodom and Gomorrah," said one sign, carried by a protester.

"This is wrong and it needs to change. The homosexuals are saying it's a same-sex wedding but it's not that at all. It is a hoax on their part," said Jack M. Finger.

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Last revised: Sunday, September 17, 2000 05:25 PM

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