Our Pride cover models: After two weddings, celebrating new law with a honeymoon

Dungo, left, and Labine on the cover.
Dungo, left, and Labine on the cover.
Photo and illustration by Emily Utne

For the cover of our Pride issue, we got Mackenzie Labine and Liza Dungo to re-create the iconic "Kissing Sailor" photo from the end of World War II. The two women aren't actors: They're a real couple who, one year ago this month, had a dream wedding in the Sculpture Garden at the Walker Art Center.

Labine wore a white dress and carried red roses. Dungo put on a gray pin-striped suit and a turquoise bow tie. At the altar, their friend, a Presbyterian pastor, officiated the wedding.

"Even though this isn't recognized by Minnesota," Labine remembers him saying, "we recognize you."

See Also:
- Save the Date: GLBT couples around Minnesota race to plan August weddings
- Richard Carlbom on making same-sex marriage a reality: Meet the man behind Minnesota's gay marriage campaign
- Supreme Court rules DOMA unconstitutional in 5-4 decision

Though differences like that made Labine tear up, the Alice in Wonderland-themed wedding was, she explains, "pretty traditional." Even members of her family who hadn't initially supported her relationship -- like her Italian, Roman Catholic grandmother -- attended and "really came around on the big day."

"I think some people needed to see it presented in the traditional sense," Labine says, "and then they could see that it's exactly the same thing."

Dungo and Labine on their wedding day last summer. Click to enlarge.
Dungo and Labine on their wedding day last summer. Click to enlarge.
Meghan Doll

The couple first met in July 2009, when Labine, visiting friends in New York City, walked into the nightclub where Dungo worked. After months of Skype conversations, in December of that year, Dungo found a job in Minneapolis and moved in with Labine.

As part of the new gig, Dungo also had health insurance. Labine, who works as a hairstlyist, didn't, so the two women got a domestic partnership in 2010 and asked Dungo's union if Labine could join her plan.

"They said they hadn't even heard of it," Labine recalls. "And that you had to be a man and a woman in order to get benefits."

After some sleuthing, the couple discovered a loophole in the contract that said as long as they were married somewhere, Labine would qualify. So in October 2012, four months after their wedding, the couple went to Iowa to get a marriage license. Starting August 1, Minnesota will finally recognize it.

"We still won't have all the same things opposite-sex married couples do," Labine notes. "But it's really, really exciting that it's happening here."

Since Labine and Dungo have already married twice, they don't want a third celebration. Instead, they're finally getting around to planning their honeymoon. On August 3, the couple will head to Mexico's Isla Mujeres (the Island of Women).

"We mostly want to turn the paperwork in and be done," Labine says. "We've already done the big, big wedding, so now we're just happy that we're getting recognition for that."

Here's the full cover:

Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge.
Photo and illustration by Emily Utne

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