Texas doesn't yet recognize same-sex marriages, and the Methodist Church doesn't either. But that didn't stop Jack Evans and George Harris, 84 and 80 years old respectively, from being married by United Methodist Reverend Bill McElvaney, in front of hundreds of people on Saturday. In a story that combines two of the biggest narratives of the U.S. fight over same-sex marriage, the union of Harris and Evans simultaneously rebukes Texas's state-wide ban on same-sex marriages, and their church's refusal to allow clergy to perform the ceremonies.
Harris and Evans have been together for 53 years, and their story spans virtually the entirety of the modern gay rights movement: the couple met at a gay bar in Dallas in 1961, according to a 2011 profile of the couple on their 50th anniversary. At the time, Evans says that he lost his job because of his sexual orientation, as he told the Dallas Voice:
Evans had recently moved back from Houston. He had been managing the antique furniture department at Neiman Marcus in the Houston store, but Edwin Marcus found out he was gay. He lost the job, he said, because Marcus said they were afraid that if others found out, he’d be blackmailed and begin to steal from the company. “They ‘allowed’ me to resign,” Evans said.
And Harris told the paper that he was discharged from the Army (he worked as a stenographer) after facing questions about his sexuality. Eventually, the pair became well-known activists for LGBT people in Dallas. And now, they've married, despite two bans telling them they can't: that of the state of Texas, and that of their church, the United Methodists.