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reed magazine logoSummer 2008

But it was the family issues that were most compelling —and problematic. “My parents have always been queer-positive,” Eve explains. “J.L.’s parents have had a mixed reaction. Our marriage was a way of saying, ‘this is important, we’re going to have a family, you have to support us or not.’”

Although they didn’t anticipate that getting married would affect them profoundly, in some ways it did. “There’s an emotional commitment that the relationship takes on: you’re married and you’re making this intention to be together for the long haul,” Eve explains.

The legal benefits and protections of marriage were also key. In fact, Eve says she would willingly give up the marriage label for a broader, less discriminatory status that granted the same rights and benefits as marriage to more people. “It would be O.K. to me if we called them all civil unions,” she says. “It’s about the equal access to rights. I’d give up the word ‘marriage’ and leave that with churches and synagogues. I don’t understand that the religious right is so attached to it. They don’t seem to understand that it’s about legal rights.”

The wedding ceremony was held in Longfellow Park in Cambridge. They headed off to Nova Scotia for a week-long honeymoon. “After we got married we bought a condo,” says Eve. “Buying property and signing a 30-year mortgage—that was huge!”

Katherine Woods ’95 and Davis Woods Morse share the ground floor of a roomy duplex in Southeast Portland. They met through an online dating network and hit it off instantly—same books, same music, same outlook on life. And perhaps most importantly, same radical approach to marriage and its discontents (read more about it in Davis’ recently published book, Better Than Marriage, or by visiting the couple’s website,

The two became romantically involved gradually, while each was concurrently involved in other intimate relationships (both identify as bisexual). “We were friends, and agreed to start helping with each other’s kids,” says Katherine. “Then we fell in love.”

What is yet more complex, perhaps, is their living arrangement. Katherine and her former husband, Scott Eliot ’91, jointly own a duplex. Their children, 10-year-old Paxton and 13-year-old Torin, have bedrooms upstairs in Scott’s flat, and spend roughly equal time downstairs, where Katherine and Davis live. Davis’ 2-year-old son from his previous marriage lives with them part-time. To top it off, Davis and Scott have a law practice together—specializing in divorce law.

This time around, neither will marry the other—though Davis and Katherine are holding an “un-wedding” ceremony in August with friends and family from far and wide. Various ex-spouses and ex-lovers are sure to be there. The ceremony itself will be silent, “a performance piece,” Katherine quips. Though it’s also in dead earnest: the couple has prepared a detailed agreement about how their relationship will be conducted. The pair say they’re guided by a range of influences, from queer theory to Kabbalah to Sapphic poetry, plus the insight Davis has gained in his law practice.

Davis Woods Morse and Katherine Woods ’95

“Rather than grabbing those rights and responsibilities and having them fall down on us as the state has defined them,” Davis explains, “we’re having discussion after discussion, just as same-sex couples had before there was the possibility of a state-sanctioned union. It involves a conversation and negotiation about how one does finances, how we’re going to be sexual with one another, how we’re going to do the work around the house. We’re choosing not to get married for political reasons: we don’t want to get married until everyone can get married. But it’s also been powerful to get to define our own relationship.”

Says Katherine: “I’m a financial person, so I’m thinking of it as our IPO. We’ve been doing the preparation behind the scenes, now we’re ready to go public, to tell the kids and our parents that we’re really serious about it. I’m wearing a white dress, he’s wearing a kilt, it’s going to look a lot like a typical American wedding. There’ll be the kiss and we’ll be together.”

reed magazine logoSummer 2008