Gay NewsPulse | by Wesley Davidson | 07/29/2013
Larry Kramer has always done things his way. While many people would shop for the perfect venue for their wedding and the perfect outfit to wear, Larry, on July 24, 2013, married David Webster his long-time partner in the ICU unit at NYU’s Langone’s Medical Center. Wearing a hospital gown and recovering from a surgery performed on July 21, owing to a bowel obstruction, Kramer and husband Webster, an architect and designer, were married by Judge Eve Preminger in a noon ceremony. Twenty friends and relatives attended the unscripted vows that included an exchange of Cartier rings. The groom, Kramer, was not able to make his own reception afterward at Riverpark. ”We’ll have a party once he’s out of the hospital,” said Webster, 67, who met Kramer in the 1970’s.
The couple had planned to be married on their Greenwich Village terrace of their apartment (they also have a Connecticut home that Webster has renovated) a few weeks earlier before Kramer’s health flared up while Webster was on a trip. Kramer, for a long time, was critical of state laws permitting what he called “feel good” marriages for gays without federal benefits. Once the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was struck down in states where same-sex marriage is legal, Kramer decided it was time to marry his partner of over twenty years.
A Lifetime Spent in Opposition
Larry Kramer now seventy-eight, attended Yale University where The Larry Kramer Initiative for Lesbian and Gay Studies is now named in his honor. After the Centers for Disease Control declared that a “gay” cancer, Kaposi’s Sarcoma, was affecting young gay men in New York and San Francisco in 1981, Kramer founded, along with others, in 1982, The Gay Men’s Health Crisis, a New York City-based non-profit, volunteer-supported and community-based AIDS Service organization still active. It was the first and largest advocacy and protest organization.
Once called “the angriest man in America,” Kramer resigned in 1983 to form the more militant ACTUp (the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) in 1987 when the AIDS crisis was in full bloom. New York’s and President Reagan’s Administrations were not responding quickly enough to the tragedy – the thousands of lives that were lost.
Kramer’s play, “The Normal Heart,” dealt about this 1980’s plague and had more than 600 productions. Revived in 2011, the same year that New York legalized same-sex marriage, it was a roman a clef about his involvement with Act Up. Winning a Tony for best play revival, I happened to see the riveting drama after which Kramer was handing out fact sheets about HIV and AIDS at the theatre exits. He’s never lost his chutzpah nor energy for which he received a Special Tony for humanitarian service in June.
Wesley Davidson: Visit my blog: Straight Parent, Gay Kid