The Gay J.P
Your 1st Choice for a  Gay Wedding Officiant in Ct.
About Us

The pioneering spirit is alive and well in Branford native Donald Gentile as a Justice of the Peace for Branford, CT just as his ancestor, Corporal John Moss, early settler of New Haven County did over 300 years ago. Corporal Moss was one of the first colonists to New Haven colony having immigrated on the Hector in 1637. In 1664 he was appointed Deputy to the New Haven Legislature and was an integral part of the founding of Wallingford, Connecticut. Early town fathers bestowed upon him a great honor when they officially “appointed and impowered (him) to joyne persons in marriage according to law” 

 

Today, Don Gentile, the Corporal’s direct descendent, is “impowered” beyond the limitations imposed on John Moss. Now that same-sex marriage is legal in Connecticut, Mr. Gentile is legally able to join both straight and gay couples in marriage – as well as be married himself. Since becoming a Justice the Peace on January 6th, 2009, Mr. Gentile has been breaking ground as one of the first gay officiates in the United States who can offer his services to same-sex couples quite literally in his own back yard.  Mr. Gentile’s reputation is growing as someone who can creatively meet the needs of couples who are increasingly making Connecticut one of the hottest gay wedding destinations.
 

Mr. Gentile was partly inspired to create his identity as ‘The Gay JP” by his own experiences.
When same – sex marriage was legalized in
Connecticut, he and his long time partner began planning their own wedding.  Joined in a ‘commitment ceremony’ 19 years ago, they decided that their 20th Anniversary would be a perfect wedding date. Mr. Gentile approached the minister of the local Baptist church where he and his partner had attended services, the minister who is also a neighbor and an occasional guest in their home, surprised Mr. Gentile by flatly refusing to perform their ceremony. He ultimately was married in June 2010 on their anniversary- in a most unconventional setting- a Lobster Shack in Clinton, Connecticut. And the Officiate? A gay man they eventually found through word of mouth. “I weeded through a bunch of ‘gay friendly’ people ‘willing’ to perform the ceremony- but who wants someone ‘willing’? I wanted someone to perform our ceremony with a truly joyous heart. Not just ‘friendly’ or willing”
 

That’s also when he realized, Mr. Gentile said, that although same-sex marriage is legal in Connecticut , gay couples still face obstacles on their way to the alter. He empathizes with couples – gay or straight- who may not be welcome in traditional settings.

 

Consequently, the Gay JP has been performing weddings in a variety of alternative settings, midnight at the beach, a roof top garden in New Haven, and even in a coffee shop aptly named ‘The Common Grounds” on the Green in Branford town center. It was a spot that the couple had done much of their courting, and the wedding made the Front page of the New Haven Register in June of 2009.

 

As the Gay JP’s reputation grows, Don has begun fielding requests for other wedding services. In addition to officiating, he has provided music, flowers, refreshments, photography services, and, for a few lucky couples, his own backyard. A short walk to Branford’s ‘By the Sea Inn and Spa” where couples and their guests can stay overnight, Mr. Gentiles own 20th century house and yard, complete with quietly burbling water garden, make a beautiful backdrop for the ceremony and a welcoming site for an informal reception.

 

Thanks to progressive legislation and his own initiative, Don Gentile can perform his ancestor’s role today with empathy, tolerance and the satisfaction of knowing The Gay JP is making beautiful beginnings for happy couples in Connecticut and beyond.

 

 


 
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