NYC Clerk Mistakenly Marries Same-Sex Couple
Two men became the first same-sex couple to marry in New York. But there's a story here: gay marriages are illegal in NYC.
Hakim Nelson (pictured, right) and Jason Stenson (left) married on May 26 with nary a raised eyebrow among the oblivious city bureaucrats who not only OK'd the marriage license, but conducted the ceremony, despite gay marriage being illegal in the state.
Nelson -- who goes by the name "Kimah" and hopes to one day have surgery to become a "full female" -- wore an orange dress and white leggings, his straight, brown hair falling to his shoulders.
The gullible clerk didn't seem to notice that both Nelson, 18, and Stenson, 21, have male first names.
They both had to present identification to obtain the license. Stenson used his state ID card, and Nelson gave a state Benefit Card, which he uses to collect food stamps.
By a fluke, Nelson's ID card has an "F" for female on it, because the official who issued it in April assumed from his appearance that he was a woman.
But Nelson couldn't believe the license clerk didn't ask for better identification.
"I was scared. I thought they would ask for more paperwork from me because I have a male name," Nelson said.
The clerk didn't. Instead she asked questions about the couple's jobs and addresses -- which they listed as Sylvia's Place, a city shelter for gay, lesbian and transgender youth -- but nothing about their gender.
Ten days after obtaining their license, the wedding crashers returned to the office for the ceremony. They were clutching their license and a pair of $10 silver wedding rings they had bought in the West Village. Nelson was in the same orange dress.
They showed another clerk at the marriage bureau their license, and he gave them a number and told them to wait.
Then a third city official, Blanca Martinez, took their IDs and the license. She printed out the marriage certificate and performed the quick ceremony, pausing to ask Nelson whether she was pronouncing "Hakim" properly. A friend served as a witness.
As they walked out of the building hand in hand, Jason said to his new spouse, "I think we just made history."
For its part, the city has deemed the marriage invalid.