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While the day after graduation marks a new stage in the lives of each member of the Class of 2010, May 28 represents an even more momentous occasion for Billy M.K. Stallings ’10 and his fiancé Paul G. Nauert ’09. Trading a gown and mortarboard for a tuxedo, Stallings will head to Memorial Church on Friday to tie the knot with Nauert.
“We want to make this covenant in front of all our friends and family,” said Stallings, adding that it is important to the couple to marry at Harvard because of the emotional value the campus holds for them.
The pair was immediately drawn to one other when they met in the fall of 2008, but they didn’t get together until Stallings’ 21st birthday party the following spring. Stallings proposed four months later, driving with Nauert from his San Antonio home to the Austin capitol building, where he popped the question as the stars came out.
“There was a huge rainbow in the sky the whole time we were driving,” said Nauert, who accepted the proposal immediately.
After their Cambridge wedding, the newlyweds will road-trip back to Texas and move into their new home in Austin along with their newly adopted puppy, Athena.
“The city is radically different from where I grew up,” said the St. Louis-born Nauert, who plans to work on the couple’s garden and possibly engage in community organizing or other projects in Austin.
“We’ll see how it unfolds,” Nauert said. “I’m ready to suck the marrow out of life in Austin.”
In the meantime, the couple has been busy finalizing the plans for the wedding. The ceremony will feature a series of readings that will emphasize love, commitment, and how marriage brings families together.
“It’s about the public love and the courage that queer people have—the courage that any couple has whose love becomes public,” Nauert said.
Stallings’ father, an ordained priest in the Progressive Catholic Church, will officiate the ceremony.
Though Stallings and Nauert will obtain their marriage license in Massachusetts, the state of Texas does not recognize same-sex marriage.
“I’m sure there’s no way that will continue,” said Stallings, who will attend law school at the University of Texas in the fall. “Something will have to change, but fortunately we’re both into constitutional law, so we’ll do our best to navigate our rights until then.”
Nauert said that even the fact that he is right-handed and Stallings left-handed proves the strength of their connection.
“We can sit next to each other and not bump into each other,” he said, smiling at Stallings. “I look at Billy and I see my beloved, the person I’m going to spend the rest of my life with.”
—ALICE E.M. UNDERWOOD
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