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Gay Man Planned Chelsea Clinton’s Wedding

by Kilian Melloy
Monday Aug 2, 2010

Former President Bill Clinton may have thought that gays don't deserve federal marriage recognition of their own, but he had no problem signing a gay man on to plan his daughter's July 31 wedding.

That's the news from Towleroad, which on Aug. 2 posted news of the hiring of Bryan Rafanelli, an openly gay event planner reportedly hired by the Clintons to put together the event.

Bill Clinton signed the so-called "Defense of Marriage" Act (DOMA) in 1996, which denies any federal recognition to same-sex families. The law also attempts to give states the right to ignore marriages granted to same-sex couples in other jurisdictions, despite the Constitution's "full faith and credit" clause, which requires that contracts made in one state are recognized in all the other states. A recent court case in Massachusetts found that DOMA is unconstitutional.

"This court has determined that it is clearly within the authority of the Commonwealth to recognize same-sex marriages among its residents, and to afford those individuals in same-sex marriages any benefits, rights, and privileges to which they are entitled by virtue of their marital status," federal district court judge Joseph L. Tauro wrote in his July 8 ruling. "The federal government, by enacting and enforcing DOMA, plainly encroaches upon the firmly entrenched province of the state."

Rafanelli was reported as the Clintons' pick in a Boston Globe article from July 28. The Globe said that the wedding's cost was an estimated $2 million. Chelsea Clinton wed Marc Mezvinsky, an investment banker, in a ceremony in Rhinebeck, New York. Chelsea wore a dress by Vera Wang. noted in an Aug. 2 story that Rafanelli had organized events for the Clintons on previous occasions, including events in 2004 and 2008, both election years.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.


  • BB, 2010-08-02 21:51:00

    Gay men design wedding gowns, bake wedding cakes, sing at weddings, do calligraphy, officiate, and handle the divorce. What’s your damned point, Melloy?

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