Being an ordained Roman Catholic priest and having spent four years at the Vatican, performing gay marriages was always a dream of Tony Adams, but a dream that was definitely felt far away.
"I wanted to perform gay marriages but my involvement with the ULC came after having it mentioned by a friend and then getting (a) call a few days later. I thought 'well, this is it'" said Adams.
It was true too. Fellow officiant Barbara Anne Michaels had mentioned the ULC to Adams after he expressed interest in performing same sex marriages and the deal was sealed when he received a call from a Monastery staff member the following Monday. Just one short month later, two couples who wanted elements of traditional Catholic weddings got exactly what they asked for as Adams even delivered a blessing in Latin.
Dressed in the traditional wear of Catholic priest, black pants, shoes and shirt topped by a white collar, Adams added one personal touch on the day of Pop Up Chapel: a rainbow flag neatly painted below the collar.
"Tony was great, very accommodating. I am a control freak and he answered all my questions. We wanted a straight forward, traditional service with some personal touches and he had great follow through" said Rose Yndigoen and Jen Nagle.
Having been married for years himself, Adams was empathetic to the stress and overwhelming excitement that the couple must have been feeling. Standing beneath the honeycomb cardboard of the Kiss Chapel on Saturday morning, Adams spoke of love and commitment in front of an intimate crowd of twelve guests and two beautiful brides.
As the ceremony ended and Adams sat down with the brides and their witnesses to sign the marriage license. Calm, cool and collect, Adams remained composed as the crowd around him cheered and the happy brides were officially married. Despite the cheering of the crowd and noise that came from being at the edge of Central Park, Adams' words rang out and proclaimed to two couples' love that refused to be silenced even when the world wasn't ready.
What is even more impressive than the beauty of Adams' services was the fact he did so even in the face of the firestorm that may follow. As an ordained Catholic priest, Adams is sure to have his ordination from the Vatican be revoked for performing these ceremonies. However, when speaking with him the night before, he seemed jovial and paid this no mind.
"I want to perform same sex marriages", said Adams. In following his heart, he may leave behind a past that failed to include him, however he will carry what he learned with him and many gay couples who will be refused by the Catholic Church will be able to have a service full of the tradition in which they were raised, even the parts in Latin as he learned it while in Italy.
If you are a gay couple who is finding that you're being turned away by the Church, Tony Adams will be able to officiate a ceremony with the traditional elements others refuse to give. A resident of New York City, Adams is looking forward to performing more weddings and will remain is in the highest standing with the Universal Life Church.
"I believe this is what Jesus Christ would do," said Adams.
The ULC Monastery would like to personally thank Tony Adams for his dedication to and delivery of two beautiful weddings on July 24th and we look forward to hearing about many more.