Zwanger placed an ad in PGN in December 1993 looking for Mr. Right and Kram replied. The pair met for brunch at Café Nola on Jan. 2, 1994, and nearly 20 years later, on Nov. 2, 2013, they married at their home in Betterton, Md.
The couple also has a house in Old City.
Kram, 64, works as a veterinarian and is certified in animal acupuncture. He currently works at a private small-animal practice in Delaware. Zwanger, 57, is a board-certified emergency medicine physician. He has worked at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and works as a physician advisor at Executive Health Resources.
Once Kram contacted Zwanger through the ad, they talked on the phone before eventually meeting in person.
It was through those initial conversations that they realized opposites truly do attract.
“We talked on the phone for a while and of course I made the faux pas of saying I hated animals and of course he is a veterinarian,” Zwanger said. “We had a blind date at Café Nola and Malcolm probably thought, Why am I meeting this person? He has every trait I am not happy with.”
But Zwanger said the date went well and they quickly agreed to see each other again.
“We made plans to get together at his place and he volunteered to make dinner,” Zwanger said.
“Which he hated,” Kram interjected.
“I discovered I was not a big fan of polenta,” Zwanger joked. “There was a topping on it and I sort of played with it and moved it around and didn’t eat it.”
But during the date they both made efforts to learn more about the other’s passions, with Zwanger bringing Kram’s dog treats, and Kram inquiring about Zwanger’s Porsche.
The pair said their varying interests and approaches to life have helped them both individually and as a couple.
“I am quick to act, and Mark has to process, so I know if I want to get something done, I have to talk about it with him,” Kram said.
The couple said they have found acceptance in their Maryland community, despite their initial hesitance.
“We live in a small town that has a history of being very Southern in its attitudes. When we first moved down there, it was a concern that we were a gay couple but then we found out that there were two other gay couples from the Philly area who lived there,” Kram said. “We found that it has been an open, welcoming community. We’ve had no issues about being gay — they have just accepted us as being a couple.”
With their 20th anniversary approaching — and once Maryland’s marriage-equality law went into effect last year — Zwanger said the time felt right to tie the knot.
Zwanger got to planning the perfect proposal — although it didn’t go quite as planned.
While Kram was at a neighbor’s house on July 5, Zwanger set up the couple’s gazebo.
“Mark is very creative and throughout our relationship, he has always surprised me,” Kram said. “We tend to watch certain TV shows together, one of which is ‘Glee,’ and so he took the ‘Will You Marry Me’ ‘Glee’ video and had speakers going and he is sitting there waiting for me. I was taking my sweet time having a glass of wine with this neighbor and when I arrived, he was not happy and that put me in a funky mood. So as the song was playing, I was like, ‘Is he proposing to me?’ Eventually it sunk in.”
They returned to the gazebo four months later for the wedding, officiated by Mark Mumford, clerk for the circuit court of Kent County.
Zwanger, who now considers himself a huge animal lover, said the pair had their dog, Babka, and their new kitten, Kugel, present for the ceremony.
While the wedding was a fitting way to mark their 20 years together, Zwanger said it also was past time for the couple’s union to garner the legal recognition it deserves.
“It just made sense for us to protect ourselves and get all the rights that everybody else has.”