There went in two and two to Noah’s Gay Wedding Cruise. First came Ellen and Portia, then Ennis Del Mar and Jack Twist, then Bert and Ernie. And lo’ did a rainbow appear in the clouds and bless the gays. This is the mythology that appears in Ohio artist Paul Richmond’s Noah’s Gay Wedding Cruise: MarriageEvolved Edition, a piece of art that is raising money for an organization of the same name.
MarriageEvolved was founded by Joshua and Captain Steve Snyder-Hill, an American couple who were frustrated by marriage inequality and who wanted to give a voice to those affected. To Richmond, the Snyder-Hills are an extreme inspiration. “They do so much advocacy work through MarriageEvolved – encouraging couples to share their stories, participate in rallies/events, and demand more from our government leaders,” he says. “They are currently fighting DOMA on the national level to establish equality for LGBT military spouses.”
This advocacy work extends to the C-Bus of Love, and this historic road trip is where Richmond and his fiancÃ©, Dennis, became involved. “I found out about the C-Bus of Love on Facebook, and when Dennis and I read more about it, we knew it was the right choice for us.” Sponsored by MarriageEvolved, the C-Bus of Love will transport 25 couples from seven states where, because of the Defense of Marriage Act, same-sex marriage is not recognized, to Washington, DC, where they will be married on the steps of the US Supreme Court.
Richmond, a painter and illustrator who often incorporates pop culture, celebrities and gay culture into his work, met his fiancÃ© seven years ago in a chat room on New Year’s Eve. “Although it was clear we were very different people, we immediately recognized that we shared some commonalities, including a love for Cher, Dolly Parton and art — me making it, Dennis buying it!” Richmond will be selling limited-edition prints of his updated edition of Noah’s Gay Wedding Cruise, which features the Snyder-Hills, and all proceeds go to MarriageEvolved.
Richmond and his fiancÃ© have been engaged for six of their seven years together and are no longer willing to wait to take the next step: “I’m in love, and I want to share my life with my partner,” he says. “I live in a state where gay marriage is not recognized, but I am no longer willing to wait for our politicians to come around. We should be able to get married when we feel the time is right, even if it means travelling over 1,100 miles on a bus.”
Limited-edition prints of Noah’s Gay Wedding Cruise: MarriageEvolved Edition are available starting Thurs, May 23 at paulrichmondstore.com.