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A couple makes a movie — and a statement — about gay marriage

Eight is not enough

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Photo gallery

1/8
The couple initially eloped to Connecticut where they had an intimate ceremony surrounded by their closest friends.
2/8
Mosher and Dwyer experienced a “new-age” wedding in Vermont where they exchanged magnetic rings.
3/8
The duo recited vows written by Shakespeare and E. E. Cummings on a bridge in New Hampshire.
4/8
Iowa was the locale for the twosome’s Jewish wedding complete with a “chuppah.”
5/8
The men showed their sweet sides in in Massachusetts — the first state in the nation to legalize same-sex marriage.
6/8
The couple gave each other middle-finger commitment rings in California to symbolize their sentiments toward Prop 8.
7/8
“The joke that turned into a movie” came full circle on the steps of the Supreme Court in Washington, DC.
8/8
Mosher got his dream beach wedding in Coney Island only weeks after same-sex marriage became legal in New York.

An octopus has eight legs. An Octomom, eight kids. Now comes the octo-wedding, the subject of the documentary “Married and Counting,” a film about a gay couple that tied the knot eight different times to prove an important point — their love is equal to heterosexual love and, thus, deserves equality.

On Nov. 29 2010, Pat Dwyer and Stephen Mosher embarked on a road trip with director Allen Piper, who filmed the couple getting married in eight different locations — from the steps of the Supreme Court in D.C. to a joyous beachfront wedding in Coney Island only days after same-sex marriage became legal in their home state of New York.

“There’s something aggressively joyful about it,” says Vince Gatton, a mutual friend of 15 years who married the daring duo on a bridge in New Hampshire. “They’re saying to the world, very loudly, ‘our happiness is not a threat to you, but we are here, and we should be counted.’”

The concept of the film was hatched when the Hell’s Kitchen-based couple decided they wanted to do something special to celebrate their quarter-century together.

“We thought, ‘Hey wouldn’t it be cool if we could actually get married for our 25th anniversary?’” says Mosher. “[But in 2009] when New York didn’t adopt gay marriage when it had the chance, I said out of frustration, ‘We should go to every state where we can get married and do it!’ And then Pat said ‘Then we’ll sue the United States government for all the money we spent doing it.’ That was the joke that turned into a movie.”

Dwyer and Mosher met in the green room at North Texas State University’s theater on a hot Wednesday afternoon in 1985. Mosher came up behind Dwyer with a tray of ice, dumped it into a sink, and started rubbing chilled cubes of relief all over his face. Dwy–er froze. He stared at Mosher’s butt and wondered “who does that belong to?”

Then Mosher turned around.

“Lightning struck me. I had never seen anything so beautiful in my life,” says Dwyer. “Something inside me said ‘I remember you.’”

Dwyer says that the experience left him feeling like he was the “victim of love at first sight,”

Mosher, however, had a different first impression.

“Pat saw me and thought: ‘I like his face, I’m going to marry him’,” says Mosher. “I saw him and thought: ‘I like his face, I’m going to have an affair with him’.”

Yet, shortly after the two met, Dwyer cast Mosher in a play he was directing, the two became fast friends, and soon much more.

Despite the couples’ overt passion, the film isn’t a portrayal of two militant gay men sprinkled with images of red velvet cake and screech-worthy troubles with a global positioning system. It’s more honest than that, pumped full of moments like a Jewish ceremony in Iowa hosted by complete strangers; Mosher’s on-going battle with his father to accept his relationship with Dwyer; a run-in with an “ex-homosexual” Christian; the men’s joint joy as they watch same-sex marriage be legalized in New York; and mandatory “dance-breaks,” which the couple often takes when they need to blow off steam. Ultimately, “Married and Counting” showcases a strong, loving couple whose warmth — perhaps derived from the sweltering summer day in Texas when the two first met — might be enough to melt away any icy sentiments a viewer may have about who should, and should not, have the right to legally wed.

Click through the slide show above to see an intimate photo from each of Mosher and Dwyer’s weddings.

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Reader feedback

Allan Piper from East Village says:
Wonderful article! I was honored to be able to tell Pat and Stephen's story with this film. Married & Counting opens April 26 at the Quad Cinema for a week-long run. There will be a Q&A after every 7:15 showing.

-Allan Piper, director of Married & Counting
March 28, 2013, 6:54 am

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