The First Gay Marriage In The U.S. Took Place In Los Angeles In 1968
The first public gay wedding (or as they'll now be called, weddings) took place in a house at 6205 Miles Avenue in Huntington Park, where the Metropolitan Community Church held their meetings, Curbed LA reports.
The church, founded by Reverend Troy D. Perry in October 1968, was one that welcomed LGBT members. Perry was 28 at the time, and had previously been ousted from his prior church because of his sexual orientation. Perry also helped find the Los Angeles Pride Parade, and acted as Grand Marshal during this year's parade, alongside Zoey, a 13-year-old trans activist.
In December of 1968, Perry performed a ceremony for two Latino men, according to an essay penned by James N. Birkitt, who has worked extensively with the church. TIME Magazine would call it the very first public same-sex wedding in the U.S. In December of 1969, the L.A. Times printed a front-page article about a "church for homosexuals."
A year later, two women were married there, also officiated by Rev. Perry. (Curbed notes that some regard this particular marriage as the first public same-sex marriage.) In 1970, Perry would file a lawsuit on behalf of these two women—Neva Heckman and Judith Bellew—asking for their marriage to be legally recognized. This lawsuit was ultimately dismissed.
Over 240,000 gay weddings would be performed by the church over the next 45 years. Perry would tell each couple that their marriage was "blessed by God, but is not yet recognized by the government. We're working on that." While the marriages weren't legally binding, the church would perform them if a couple had been dating for at least six months.