Palm Springs – StoryCorps

How One of the First Legally Married Same-Sex Couples in the US Made it Down the Aisle

On November 18, 2003, in the case of Goodridge v. Department of Public Health, the Massachusetts Supreme Court declared that “…barring an individual from the protections, benefits, and obligations of civil marriage solely because that person would marry a person of the same sex violates the Massachusetts Constitution.” This allowed same-sex couples to be legally married in the state of Massachusetts, the first state in the United States to do so.

David Wilson (above left), one of the plaintiffs in that landmark case, was also one of the first to be married when the law went into effect on May 17th, 2004. In 2010, David first came to StoryCorps to reflect on his difficult path to get to his wedding day.

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Nine years later, David and his husband, Robert Compton, came to StoryCorps to reflect on their journey as they approach their 15th wedding anniversary.

Top photo: David Wilson and his husband Robert Compton at their StoryCorps recording in Palm Springs, California in 2019. By Jud Esty-Kendall.
Bottom photo: David Wilson, officiant Reverend Ms. Kim K. Crawford Harvie, and Robert Compton on their wedding day on May 17, 2004 in Boston, Massachusetts. Courtesy of David Wilson.

Originally aired May 17, 2019, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

By the Power Vested in Me

On November 18, 2003, in the case of Goodridge v. Department of Public Health, the Massachusetts Supreme Court declared that “…barring an individual from the protections, benefits, and obligations of civil marriage solely because that person would marry a person of the same sex violates the Massachusetts Constitution.” This allowed same-sex couples to be legally married in the state of Massachusetts, the first state in the United States to do so.

In this episode of the StoryCorps podcast, we’ll hear from David Wilson, one of the plaintiffs in that landmark case, who was also one of the first to be married once the law went into effect on May 17th, 2004. He came to StoryCorps several years later to reflect on his difficult path to get to that day and what being part of that historic case meant to him.

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Next, we catch up with David and his husband, Robert Compton, as they get ready to celebrate their 15th wedding anniversary. We’ll also hear from a gay couple married 50 years before David and Rob.

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Top photo: Artwork by Michael Caines.
Second photo: David Wilson and his husband, Robert Compton, in 2019 at their StoryCorps interview in Palm Springs, California. Photo by Jud Esty-Kendall.
Third photo: Michael McConnell and his husband, Jack Baker, in 2017 at their StoryCorps interview in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Photo by Jhaleh Akhavan.

Released on May 14, 2019.

Like the music in this episode? Support the artists:

“Overture” by Patrick Wolf from the album Sundark and Riverlight
“Periodicals” and “City Limits” by Blue Dot Sessions from the album Albany, NY
“Vittoro” by Blue Dot Sessions from the album Aeronaut
“Elegiac” by Bryan Copeland