• Jeannie Hess (left) and Professor Lorna Gibson leaving their house for their wedding in the Arnold Arboretum on May 21.

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  • Marie Bober (left) and Marisa Kirschbaum (S.B. 1999) on their wedding day.

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  • Frederic 'Fritz' Bell (left) and Bill Fregosi, technical coordinator for theater arts at MIT, on their wedding day, May 23.

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MIT has its share of pioneering newlyweds


Spring is a popular time for weddings, but it was an especially sweet time this year for same-sex couples--including several in the MIT community--who were legally allowed to get married in Massachusetts as of May 17.

Among those from MIT were Lorna Gibson, the Matoulas S. Salapatas Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and chair-elect of the faculty, who married her partner Jeannie Hess in a ceremony at the Arnold Arboretum on May 21; and Bill Fregosi, technical coordinator for theater arts, and his partner Frederic "Fritz" Bell, who tied the knot on May 23 in Brookline.

Fregosi and Bell will have a Quaker ceremony and reception party in August, "but we decided to move very fast on the legalities out of distrust for Gov. [Mitt] Romney's possible actions against same-sex marriage," said Fregosi, who has been designing theatrical scenery and teaching for 29 years at MIT. "We picked the 23rd because it was actually our seventh anniversary." The couple had a wedding brunch "in the only place we could get a table that morning--a sports bar, which is pretty funny to those who know us well," he added.

Stephen Pepper, an administrative assistant in the Academic Resource Center, married Sam Goldfarb, a psychologist and partner of six years, on May 21 at the Church of the Covenant and the Arlington Street Church in Boston. They plan a civil ceremony in June.

"This month and the months to come find me happily exercising my new ability to preside at same-sex weddings," said Pepper, who is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ and acting pastor of Central Congregational Church in Jamaica Plain. "In each case, the couples have lived together for years--one gay couple has been together for 41 years!--and consider themselves already married--society is finally catching up with them."

MIT alumni who are same-sex newlyweds include Marisa Kirschbaum (S.B. 1999), who married Marie Bober, and Sarah A. Russell (Ph.D. 2003), who married Leslie Longo (both changed their last name to Lewis). The latter couple became a complete nuclear family in almost one fell swoop. "We got married on the 17th and had our daughter on the 25th," a tired but happy Russell said. "I think we got to be the first same-sex couple in the state to both be on the birth certificate!"

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on June 9, 2004 (download PDF).


Topics: Alumni/ae, Staff

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