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Wedded: Thomas Gloss and James Flower Jr.

FamilyMarriageWeddingsSame-Sex Marriage

Wedding date: April 20, 2013

Tom's story: Tom Gloss, 59, grew up in Buffalo, N.Y. He is a retired federal employee. His mother, Wilma, is a homemaker and his father, Norman Gloss Sr., is deceased.

Jim's story: Jim Flower, 63, grew up in LaSalle, Ill. He owns James E. Flower Insurance Agency in Owings Mills. His mother, Darlene, and his father, James E. Flower Sr., are deceased.

Their story: Tom and Jim met in July 2001. Both had been previously married, gotten divorces and were looking for love. Jim had placed an advertisement in The Washington Blade, a gay news source based in Washington, stating he was looking for a long-term relationship, and Tom responded.

The following year, they exchanged rings signifying they would get legally married if they could.

The proposal: After same-sex marriage became legal in Maryland in November, Jim proposed to Tom.

"There were times we thought this was not going to happen in our lifetime, but it's amazing," says Jim.

The couple chose yellow-gold engagement rings with a channel-set row of diamonds from Elegant Slumming in Rehoboth Beach, Del.

The venue: About 100 guests attended the ceremony at Tom and Jim's parish church — St. Paul's United Church of Christ in Westminster. The Rev. Dr. Marty Kuchma, the church's pastor, and the Rev. Alex Hunter, of the First Congregational Church UCC in Dalton, Mass., officiated the ceremony. The church's organist, Bob Frazee, played during the ceremony.

"Both of us were coming from backgrounds where faith was an important part in our lives," says Jim, who was raised Roman Catholic.

All seven of their children participated in a candle lighting during the ceremony to signify the joining of two families, with Tom and Jim lighting the unity candle after they were married.

The couple also exchanged yellow-gold wedding bands with a center circle of engraved white gold by an online ArtCarved dealer in Oregon.

"Even though we'd been together for 12 years, we felt, especially for our grandchildren, it was important for us to take this step," says Tom.

Attire: Tom and Jim wore white dinner jackets with classic black tuxedo pants and black bow ties, while their sons, who also served as best men, wore black tuxedos with ocean blue vests and ties from Jos. A. Bank in Westminster.

Their granddaughters served as the flower girls and two of them wore ocean blue dresses, while the other three wore white dresses with matching blue ribbons from Marie Crawford's Bridal in Frederick.

Flowers: The Flower Box II in Westminster created red rose boutonnieres for the grooms and white rose boutonnieres for the best men. The flower girls carried bouquets that included roses, irises and small white and blue hydrangeas.

Reception: The reception took place at the Inn at Roop's Mill, a historic property in Westminster.

Entertainment: Steve Moody's Entertainment Connection of Ridgley played during the reception. The couple's first dance was to "Hold On" by Michael Buble.

Favors: Tom and Jim gave their guests silver picture frames, which doubled as keepsakes and place cards for dinner.

Dessert: The couple chose a traditional four-tier cake with various flavors, including chocolate, lemon pound cake and almond pound cake with raspberry filling and buttercream icing by Karen Rodkey Cakes of Littlestown, Pa.

"This was the first same-sex wedding for all vendors — and they were a delight," says Tom. "We chose to spend as much of our wedding money as possible in Maryland to say, 'Thank you for voting for equal marriage rights!' "

 

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Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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