They were instant celebrities.
“We thought it was truly going to be a low-key night with Michael’s daughters,” Bridges said. “It didn’t turn out that way.”
Snell’s daughters were witnesses, but so were several dozen news reporters and photographers. Soon pictures of their wedding at Portland City Hall reached all the way to California and the couple was receiving congratulatory letters from people they didn’t even know.
Since their marriage, more than 1,500 same-sex couples have tied the knot in Maine. With same-sex marriage legal in 18 states now, a total of 9,524 couples have wed in the United States, making up 16 percent (1,530) of the total marriages.
Of course not all people are as happy as Snell and Bridges. Carroll Conley, executive director of the Christian Civic League of Maine is still working to fight the referendum because the group fears same-sex marriage will now be taught in school, infringe upon religious liberties and cause wedding cake makers, photographers and others who decline to work with gay couples to get into hot water, she said.
“When we look across the country, this is definitely not a live-and-let-live proposition. The whole argument was about equality and we said during our campaign that we thought there would be people who’d find themselves in the crosshairs of the redefinition of marriage,” Conley said.
Last year, Bridges and Snell filled out paperwork at midnight while a crowd of supporters lined up outside cheering and blowing horns. After the two wed, the crowd cheered and sang the Beatles’ “All You Need is Love.”
Bridges and Snell, who have been together for 10 years already, are still happy a year later.
“We weren’t looking anything special. We were just looking for the same thing that was afforded to everyone else through marriage,” Snell said.
The couple hopes that in the future, what they did a year ago won’t gather so much attention because it will be the norm.
“With so many other states passing same-sex marriage laws, it’s going to be normal. That’s what we always wanted. We didn’t want a gay wedding. We just wanted a wedding,” he said.