Jim Pavlock, a lawyer based in Center City, told PGN about the wedding he attended last weekend. The civil ceremony was between Fine Gael Senator Jerry Buttimer and his long-term partner, Conchobar Ó Laoghaire.
“It was one of the nicest ceremonies I have ever attended,” the 59-year-old said.
The Dec. 29 ceremony took place at the Triskel Arts Centre in Cork City, Ireland, and the reception was held in the Rochestown Park Hotel in the city.
Pavlock met the high-profile Buttimer and Laoghaire at the White Wind Inn in Provincetown about 10 years ago. He said the couple visits his home in Fairmount each year before heading to Provincetown. He also vacations with them in Sitges, Spain.
Pavlock wasn’t just a guest at this wedding; he also performed two piano solos: Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme BWV 140” and O’Carolan’s Concerto.
The Philadelphia resident noted the atmosphere of the event, which included traditional Irish music and a hand-binding ceremony to symbolize their union.
“You walk into the place in a very happy mood not only because two people were getting married but because this represented something much bigger,” Pavlock said.
Buttimer came out in 2012 in conjunction with his announcement as chairperson for the Fine Gael lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender group. The group led efforts to campaign for a “yes” vote in Ireland’s marriage-equality referendum.
In an interview with the Irish Examiner at the time, Buttimer noted his reasons for coming out.
“I am a TD who just happens to be gay — it is just one little composition of the story that is me and I will continue to be the politician I was yesterday.
“I have got great support from my family and friends and from the wider community. I’m a politician. I’m a gay person, it’s a part of me, it is not who I am.”
He also pointed out why LGBT people choose not to come out.
“There is a multiplicity of reasons and causes that allows us to get to the point in our lives where we decide to make a decision whether to come out or to stay hidden. This group, and my decision, will, hopefully, be a footnote in the history of integration and inclusion.
“I think we need to have an honest debate about gay-marriage equality. Polls show nearly three in four people in [favor] of gay marriage. What heartened me was the acceptance of civil partnership — the world hasn’t ended. It has been a huge benefit to many couples. I’ve always viewed civil partnership as being a stepping stone, a platform from which to build gay marriage.”
Buttimer’s decision to come out ultimately became a footnote when same-sex marriage was legalized in Ireland Nov. 16, 2015.
Other guests at the wedding included Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and his partner Matthew Barrett, former Taoiseach Enda Kenny and his wife Fionnuala, Tanaiste Simon Coveney and his wife Ruth, and Dr. James Reilly and his wife Dorothy.
Pavlock noted that the highly anticipated event was well-attended and that guests witnessed a piece of history.
“It represented something,” Pavlock said of the high attendance numbers. “Two people could get married publicly and it’s a new Ireland. Ireland is amazing. They have come so far in the last 20 years. The whole ceremony felt good because Jerry’s marriage to Conor was a product of this whole marriage referendum.”
Buttimer told the Irish Sun about his thoughts on the big day.
“I’m delighted — I am becoming one with the man I love and adore.
“To all of you who have traveled on my and our journey, a sincere heartfelt ‘thank you.’ Ain’t no mountain high enough.
“I am very happy that as a country we can now allow all of us to get married.
“I’m so proud not just for myself and Conchobar but also for the Ireland we live in today.
“This is such a special day for us both.”
The new husbands are currently vacationing in Paris for their honeymoon.