Douglas and David Get Married

Continuing the story of the romance that has been explored before in this blog below (see Related Posts below), this update gives a prรจcis of the actual marriage and the celebration thereof that occurred to Douglas John Whaley and David Allen Vargo, who met on Saturday, January 12th of this year at 11 p.m. in Wilton Manors, Florida, and married in New York City on Saturday, November 9th at 5:30 p.m.

Since the States of Ohio and Florida both prohibit gays from obtaining a marriage license, we flew to New York on Thursday, November 7th, and checked into the Hilton on Times Square.  I mentioned to the nice woman at the reservations desk that we were in the city for the weekend in  order to be married, she congratulated us, and then promptly put us in a deluxe suite with a terrific view of downtown.  David hadn’t seen either “The Phantom of the Opera” or “The Lion King” (though decades before I’d watched the original casts perform both), so we saw them in that order on Thursday and then Friday, and thoroughly enjoyed both.


On Friday morning we went to the New York City Clerk’s office to get a marriage license, and that experience was one of the highlights of the trip.  Even at 10:30 a.m. the halls were filled with couples, many of whom were to be married on the spot by a Justice of the Peace, and so things were very festive.  The happy couples were about evenly divided between straight and gay, young and old, and some had wedding parties at the ready with confetti in hand.  Our favorites were two lipstick lesbians, young and beautiful, both in identical traditional white wedding gowns, bouquets and all, smiling brightly.  The clerk who staffed the window issuing our license was great fun, and in the movie version of all this will be played by Whoopi Goldberg.  When I commented to her that her job had to be “good fun,” she replied, “For you it’s fun, for me it’s a job—with good days and bad days.”  When asked what were bad days, she mentioned the not infrequent quarrels that couples applying for a license sometimes engaged in right at her window (“You don’t want to change your name?”), and commented that there was a good reason for the mandatory 24 hour waiting period between the issuance of the license and the ceremony.  Asked what were good days, she smiled.  “For example, when they give me a box of chocolates.”

On Saturday afternoon we hustled into our marriage suits and went to Central Park for a carriage ride.  The driver was a very nice young man from Turkey who was just finishing up his degree in engineering at City College and his horse was an old pro named “Chestnut.”  It was cold, but there was a blanket for couple to pull around them, and it was appropriately sappy and romantic to snuggle together and watch the park go by.  Chestnut knew the route and keep encouraging the driver to take the short tour at various forks in the road, and it was cold enough we were all glad to do that.

[Click to enlarge]
By one of those strange coincidences that happen in life (or, in David’s view, are assigned by God) the marriage took place at the very apartment house, Chelsea Gardens, where David had lived when he was doing theater in New York in the 80s.  It was the home of my good friend Roger Bailey, who welcomed us and guests for the ceremony, which was presided over by a friend of his, Ben Sander, who lived in the same building.  The ceremony was traditional, but short.  We exchanged vows.  Mine was an adaptation of David’s favorite quotation from “The Tempest”:

Hear my soul speak:
The very instant that I saw you, did
My heart fly to your service.
There will it reside until the last instant of my oh-so-blessed life.

David’s vows were longer, and very poignant, and they concluded with:

I will honor and respect you. I will rejoice in your joys and weep in your sorrows. I will love and cherish you without cease and without pause, all the days of our lives until death parts us.

In your eyes, I have found my new home.
In your heart, I have found a true and everlasting love.
And in your soul, I have found my friend, my teacher, my companion, and my mate.
With you, I am happy, empowered, and alive.
You have made me feel safe in a turbulent and unstable world.
You have restored my faith in humankind and given me a reason to look forward to each new day.
I am yours.
You are mine.
Of this I am certain.
You now live in my heart and will remain there all the days of my life.

After that we placed rings on each other’s fingers, were pronounced “husband and husband” by Ben, and kissed.

Roger popped open a bottle of champagne for the toasts, and then performed his signature song “Pour Me a Man” (which had brought down the house at my 60th birthday party ten years before).  One of the guests was my Gilbert and Sullivan buddy of long standing, Marc Lewis, who coaches actors for a living, and he sang a lovely acapella version of “How Deep is the Ocean” for David and me.  David’s friend Arthur “Ziggy” Siegfried told stories of how David had been his mentor in Fort Lauderdale when he was a young gay man struggling to understand that scary new world.  For supper we adjourned to “The View,” a restaurant on top of the Marriott Hotel, which revolves and displays all of NYC as it does so.  A terrific time was had by all.

The Wedding Party at The View
Back in Columbus there was a wedding reception for our Ohio friends generously hosted by Lorri Latek, Art Greenbaum, Tom Jeffire, and Ann Matheson at Art and Lorri’s home on December 8, with some 30 people in attendance.  Lorri prepared wonderful finger food in quantities that covered their large dining room table, there was a cake which David and I ceremoniously cut, and a generous bar provided libations for the drinkers in the crowd, who gave us many touching toasts.  David and I had rehearsed our own version of the comic song “It’s Never Too Late To Fall In Love” (from the musical “The Boy Friend”), performed it to the enthusiastic enjoyment of the onlookers. A rollicking good time followed.  The video can be found on YouTube at


Since then David and I are settling into married life.  He’s found a good job right down the street from where we live, and so for the first part (at least) of 2014 we’ll be staying in Columbus.  We took the condo off the market for now, and were immediately given an offer on it that we had to refuse.  Future blog posts will explore some elements of our new life: the fun we have on a daily basis clowning with each other and developing running gags, the delicate tension between an atheist married to a believer, the reactions of a native Floridian to snow and ice and the mania of Buckeye football, and much, much more.

Until then I’ll close by saying that marrying David Vargo has made me the happiest man on the planet.

Related Posts:
Falling in Love, Turning 70, and Getting Married,” October 21, 2013
"My Cats Get Involved in My Knee Surgery and Selling My Condo," June 7, 2013 
“A Decision To Move to Florida,” March 30, 2013
"Doug Update: Health, Acting, Book Readings, and Snowbirding," September 6, 2012
"Snowbirding, My iPhone 5, and the Coming Crazy Cat Trip," December 12, 2012
“A Guide to the Best of My Blog,” April 29, 2013


  1. Great post Doug. You paint a vivid picture of the wedding festivities. It sounds like it was a memorable experience that served as a fitting way to start your married lives. Both of your vows are very touching. I wish you both the very best!


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