One gay couple didn't want to wait for New York to decide whether to legalize same-sex marriage. So they outsmarted the state instead. Surprisingly, it wasn't that difficult.
No one blinked when Jason Stenson and Hakim Nelson tied the knot on May 26. City officials approved the marriage license and even conducted the ceremony, all the while unaware that they were conducting the first gay nuptials in the state, albeit illegal, according to The New York Post.
The joke's on you, New York.
Nelson, who aspires to have gender-reassignment surgery and goes by the name "Kimah," donned an orange dress and white leggings for the big day, his long brown hair resting on his shoulders at the city clerk's office on Worth Street, the Post reported.
The clerk didn't appear to notice that the young couple both had male first names, and by a stroke of good fortune, the ID card Nelson presented had an "F" for female on it. The authority who gave it to him a month before the ceremony had assumed he was a woman because of the way he looked. Still, Nelson was shocked they got away with it.
"I was scared. I thought they would ask for more paperwork from me because I have a male name," Nelson told the Post.
The clerk only asked the couple for information about where they work and live. Nelson and Stenson said they reside at Sylvia's place, a shelter for lesbian, gay and transgender people, but that didn't spark any questions about their gender.
About a week after they got their marriage license, the couple went back to the clerk's office for a ceremony, carrying a pair of silver wedding rings they bought on the cheap. A city official quickly conducted the ceremony and the pair walked out married.
"I think we just made history," Stenson said to his partner as they gleefully walked out of the building, according to the Post.
When city officials found out about the marriage they authorized, they quickly said they were duped, their system wasn't foolproof and, of course, the marriage wasn't legal. Yet once Nelson and Stenson told another gay couple about what they had done, the men shot down to the clerk's office and also duped the city into marrying them, the Post reported. Then the city started checking birth certificates to prevent it from happening.
Experts told the Post the marriage of Stenson and Nelson isn't valid because gay marriage is illegal in the state of New York, and when the newlyweds tried to present their marriage license to get couple's housing in Manhattan, they ran into problems.
Undeterred, the two are living as a married couple in a Brooklyn shelter, according to the Post – and they encourage the state to act quickly in favor of legalizing gay marriage.
"People in Albany can say, 'Look, it's already happened, so let's just make it legal,' " Stenson said. "We're all human beings. What makes me and my wife different?"