I have long admired Larry Kramer for his art, his writing and, mostly, for his in-your-face activism on the part of both the LGBT community and equality, and his work with HIV/AIDS patients. In 1980, as someone who was right there when the disease, that so-called ‘gay cancer’, that became known as AIDS, Kramer and his friends founded the Gay Men’s Health crisis [GMHC]—which is the largest private organization in the world assisting people living with AIDS.
But that wasn’t enough for Kramer, and in frustration at the lack of interest by both the government and the apathy of gay men to the crisis, he penned The Normal Heart in 1985, which fueled his fight and lead to him founding the AIDS Coalition to Unleash power [ACT UP] in 1987.
He has been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for his play The Destiny of Me and is a two-time recipient of the Obie Award. The Normal Heart won the Tony Award for best play revival on Broadway in 2011, and Larry Kramer received a special Tony last month for his humanitarian service.
But that’s not why I mention Kramer today; today there is another story: Larry Kramer got married.
Kramer married his longtime partner, David Webster last week in the intensive care unit of NYU Langone Medical Center, where Kramer has been recovering from surgery for a bowel obstruction. They had set the wedding date weeks earlier, and Kramer and Webster weren’t going to let a little thing like surgery and the ICU stop them.
The original plan—to be married on the terrace of their Greenwich Village apartment with two witnesses and a judge—was scrapped in favor of the ICU, where some two dozen friends and relatives watched Kramer and Webster tie the knot.
“I had been traveling when Larry went into the hospital, and when I was back and he was able to talk, he told me he had invited 20 people to the I.C.U. for the wedding. So it turned into a little party at his bedside.”—David Webster
Instead of the usual vows, Kramer and Webster just spoke from the heart; David Webster laughed, and said, “Why would Larry need a script?”
Kramer had long been skeptical of state laws permitting same-sex marriage as long as DOMA was in place, going so far as to call those marriages “feel-good marriages” because they conveyed few tangible benefits. But, once DOMA was dead, Kramer and Webster decided it was time; time to marry and have friends and family and the state of New York and their country accept the fact that they are now a legally married couple.
Perhaps one day, all gay couples in all states will be able to have that same feeling: acceptance, but until then, Congratulations to the happy couple!.