The story of Gerry and Travis begins at a grungy warehouse party in Baltimore in 1995.
They were invited separately to celebrate a mutual friend’s 40th birthday. Travis almost immediately took notice of Gerry.
“I went to this party just wanting to escape the world, and I saw this young, dashing man with very dark hair and a long, long ponytail, and I thought, ‘How wonderful,’ and went over to talk to him,” Travis says.
They chatted, exchanged numbers and arranged for their first date, at Donna’s Cafe Coffee Bar in the Mount Vernon neighborhood of Baltimore. They had a nice, casual conversation but didn’t leave thinking anything serious was brewing. They had come to terms with the idea that they were on different tracks in life, but still kept coming back to each other.
“I was really adrift when we first met and it felt like we were too different, and I’d say it took time to realize that Travis wouldn’t be a short-term commitment for me,” Gerry says.
During their first few months of dating, they started going to Ocean City, Md., for day trips because they couldn’t afford to stay overnight. It’s where they each realized that their budding relationship meant more than either had thought.
“There was this moment, and I’ll never forget it,” Travis says. “Gerry comes out of the water with all this hair, you know, hair to practically his tailbone, and he comes out of the water like Bo Derek in ‘10’ and I think about what an extraordinarily unique person he is and how proud I am to be with him and to even know him.”
“He hates when I tell this story, but it finally hit me how special he was when I tried to break up with him for the first time,” Gerry says. “We were at the beach in the fall of 1995, and over breakfast I started to ease my way into the breakup conversation and he started crying. I looked at him and my heart broke, and that was the first time I thought to myself, ‘I’m really involved with this guy and I’m really in love with this guy.’ ”
The next spring they moved into a home together — the same house they live in now. They struck a deal with a friend and ended up with a red brick Victorian rowhouse in Reservoir Hill.
“When we first moved in, I thought that we were like two peas in a shoe box,” Gerry says. “It’s this six-bedroom house, and when we moved in, all of our stuff only filled up two rooms.”
They started gathering mementos together to fill up their home. They say each item in their house is something they found while traveling and thrifting and art-dealing.
“We like looking around and having our memories placed about,” Travis says. “We can look at an art piece on the wall and remember when and where we found it, and there’s a story behind almost every piece.”
Over the past 19 years as a couple, they list their impulsive traveling among the highlights. There was the time they almost missed their connecting flight at Charles de Gaulle, and the time they accidentally traveled to a nearly abandoned island. During those stressful situations, Gerry and Travis found their different personalities hugely beneficial.
“I’ve got this optimistic personality, and through all of those close calls I told Travis that we were going to make it, and we just held on to each other and it did,” Gerry says. “Those are the things life is made out of, and it’s that sharing of life together that is so extraordinary.”
“I think through things like that we’ve softened. And being with someone for so long, you kind of know what they’re going to say and how they’re going to react, and there’s a nice safety to that,” Travis says.
For years the couple had been thinking about getting married, but last summer was the first time they thought about doing it in a big way.
“It always remained a conversation about going into some courthouse and it being really simple,” Travis says. “It was actually the week that DOMA fell, and we were just lounging in a pool when we discovered that we could do this big wedding and we wanted to do this big wedding.”
“We had several friends say to us that we weren’t going to cheat them out of this party,” Gerry says with a laugh. “For a while I kept on saying that the first person to wish us a one-year anniversary gets punched in the face, because why invalidate all our years together like that? But then we thought of it as a celebration, and we’re so proud of us, so why not celebrate us?”
Gerry Stacy, 43, and Travis Moose, 44, married at Washington National Cathedral, where Gerry had been a member of the choir for 10 years, on Jan. 18 — almost 19 years to the day of their first meeting in the warehouse just north of the train tracks in Baltimore. In a ceremony officiated by a close friend in front of more than 200 friends and family members, Gerry and Travis properly celebrated their lives together.
Their wedding also made history as one of the very first same-sex ceremonies held at the Cathedral, the seat of the Episcopal Church. While the mainline Protestant denomination has been among the most welcoming, the Cathedral made international news in January 2013 when their new dean announced they would begin holding same-gender weddings.
“It was just us,” Travis said after the wedding. “It was a little fancy, a little fluffy and very comfortable. It was as much about us as it was about everyone around us. While yes, we just got married, it was about all of us sharing something together and about our future.”
“After the ceremony we took a cut to the side into the reception hall, and we were stopped by an older gentleman who asked us if we had just gotten married,” Gerry added. “We said yes, and then he told us that he and his partner had been together for 34 years and they just happened to walk in the cathedral to tour and they thanked us for doing this, and that’s when it hit us how special this day really was.”