Marriage: Love and Legalities
Learn how LGBT couples can pursue legal
rights even in states where same-sex marriage is not yet legally
The romance of weddings is intoxicating—gorgeous gowns, dapper tuxes,
lush flowers and creative cuisine. However, beyond the pomp and
circumstance, a marriage can also be an opportunity to legally protect
your union. Unfortunately, the legal benefits are not yet automatically
afforded to most same-sex couples when they say "I do," but hopefully
this will change in years to come. Until then, couples should seek out
what legal protection is available.
Rev. Tony Talavera and his wife, Lou Ann, run the
Wedding Chapel in New Orleans,
and he estimates that he has officiated more than 1,000 same-sex
ceremonies. Since same-sex marriage is not legally recognized in
Louisiana, Talavera and two attorneys helped create a “Protection
Package for Non-Traditional Weddings.”
“Joining people together is a romantic time, but I try to make sure they
understand the work and planning that has to happen, too. Couples who
can’t get a legal marriage license need to put something together, legal
paperwork, to protect themselves,” says Talavera.
Duke Morgan, a New Orleans-based attorney, and Deborah Fleming, a
non-practicing attorney, advise couples on what legal protections are
inspiration for this is that I know it works,” says Fleming. Fleming and
Talavera became acquainted years ago when living in San Francisco and
saw too many same-sex couples devastated by a complete lack of legal
“I think we’re moving slowly in the direction of legalizing marriage for
everyone. I hope that this country is a great enough place that everyone
can have that one day,” says Fleming.
Until then, same-sex couples need to safeguard themselves. Laws vary
from state to state, but there are some general categories worth looking
into. Also, be aware that protections in one state may or may not be
recognized in different jurisdictions. In states where same-sex marriage
is legally recognized, do not assume that any subsequent rights will be
“I recommend people visit a local, family-law attorney and mention these
things if you plan on being married,” says Fleming.
WILLS AND TRUST INSTRUMENTS
Talavera has witnessed the injustices suffered when a partner
passes on and there is no legal protection. “There were
situations when a person died and the family took everything and
kicked the partner to the curb,” says Talavera.
In almost all states (except Louisiana where the details
differ), a properly executed will/trust helps ensure that joint
property accumulated during the partnership/marriage will be
bequeathed to the surviving partner.
Medical issues are a common and
sometimes particularly disturbing example of what happens when
legal arrangements are not made in advance. “We’ve known
personally of situations where one partner in a couple was
critically ill, hospitalized and the family of that ill partner
refused to let the other partner visit or make decisions about
the spouse’s health care,” says Morgan.
Powers of attorney provide the right for one partner to
administer the affairs of the other if they are indisposed.
There are different categories including total power of attorney
(encompassing all decisions) and limited powers of attorney
which can designate specific situations, such as medical
PROPERTY HOLDINGS/JOINT TENANCY AGREEMENTS
Many states recognize joint tenancies. “It’s like a quick-claim
deed that the property, covering home and land, automatically
goes to the other partner (if one dies),” says Fleming. The
advantage of a joint-tenancy agreement is that property is
transferred immediately and does not become a probate issue.
When real estate is bequeathed via a will, it can take a
considerable amount of time to resolve. In those cases,
surviving partners can find themselves either temporarily or
permanently dispossessed from their home.
“They (same-sex couples) break
up, too, and they should also have a plan and fail-safe like any
other couple,” says Fleming. Pre-nuptial agreements vary case by
case and can encompass whatever the couple delineates. It is
equally as important for couples to properly dissolve legal
agreements as it is to create them.
While a name change does not confer any legal rights, it can be
an important marriage rite. “It is strictly symbolic, but also
indicates a level of commitment that is important to a lot of
same-sex couples,” says Morgan. “Our practice and goal is to
equalize the circumstances under which gay people decide to live
together as spouses.”
Big Easy Brides
As seen 2011 on WE TV
(Couples Brings 'The FUN')
BIG EASY BRIDES
New Orleans Times Picayune (NOLA.com)
Huffington Post (video)
Love in the Big Easy
NBC Dallas-Ft. Worth
Reality Shack Blog
Weekend Preview: Cinemax? Sure.
Big Easy Brides
(WE, Sunday) – This show… I do not think it means what you think it
means. Although I would watch a show about overweight, promiscuous
brides, if only to try to get inside the minds of those grooms.
Jealous Brides and Crazy Weddings on Premiere
of 'Big Easy Brides' (VIDEO)
New Orleans' French Quarter
Wedding Chapel is at the heart of the new series 'Big Easy Brides'
(Sun., 10PM ET on WE). That show title, however, could certainly bring
another very different image to mind, and not a very flattering one.
Still, it does grab your attention, even if not for the right reasons,
and any attention is good for a fledgling show.
The series follows the staff at the chapel as they preside over weddings
from the mundane to the outrageous. Superheroes, voodoo, lingerie ...
nothing is too much for them to handle. And they'll do what they can to
make it as special as it can be.
However, since you're dealing with the outrageous, there is a bouncer on
hand, and he was needed right away in the premiere. Maria Daskalakis is
the wedding coordinator, but one bride is't sure why that would mean her
husband should be taking his shirt off. We're a little murky on that as
Nevertheless, Maria was complimenting the groom's muscles and talking
about training and exercises, which apparently led to the groom
stripping down. It was enough to put the bride into jealous rage mode,
which in turn escalated the entire wedding party into fight mode.
It was just one of the unions spotlighted in this premiere, which
included a decidedly trashy -- in a good way -- trailer park wedding,
cousins in love and an alcohol-fueled carriage ride. Marriage may not
last for all of these wacky unions, but the weddings sure are fun to
New Orleans French Quarter Chapel Focus Of New
Realty TV Show
The Louisiana film industry and reality
TV are a good marriage. Now, it could be even better as a new reality
TV show isat the alter this Sunday featuring a French Quarter
landmark, a wedding chapel.
Big Easy Brides will feature
Reverend Anthony "Tony" Talavera and his wife Lou Ann Talavera
of the French Quarter Wedding Chapel. The reality television
show will be broadcasted by WEtv Ssunday August 21st starting
at 9 PM CST.
The Talaveras have been strong advocates
of the French Quarter and the wedding industry--for years
attempting to help make New Orleans the "Wedding Capital of the
World" because of the uniqueness and romance offered by the City.
"The French Quarter Wedding Chapel is
the ONLY wedding chapel in the French Quarter, and now we have
national coverage with this new show, Big Easy Brides. This will
not only shine a light on THE most romantic city in the world to get
married, but will bring a fresh look into what all New Orleans
has to offer, said Reverend Talavera.
"As important as the wedding day, Big Easy
Brides shows that what a bride wants, a bride gets. We believe that
every wedding is special and this is our way to share what we do at The
French Quarter Wedding Chapel with the rest of the world."
Talavera invites the public to tune in
to WEtv August 21st to catch the season premiere of
Big Easy Brides @ 10/9c.
'Big Easy Brides': She Is Your Cousin
WeTV has found the perfect companion show to
it's Sunday franchise show Bridezillas, and that show is "Big Easy
Brides". If you are the type that can't get enough of battling bride
shows or just sideshows in general then this show is for you. This
episode is ghetto messy. What is "messier" than Mom running into the
church to stop her son's wedding, only to be carried out of the church
on her son's shoulders. No one seems to know why Mom is intent on
stopping the wedding at all costs, until Mom yells, for all to hear,
that the Bride and Groom are cousins. Oh yeah, they suddenly remember
that's why Mom is against this wedding. There is more to this story,
check out the clip.
Weekend Watch List: Sexy Sex Sex Talk!!
Welcome to Watch List, where we identify five
things on TV to watch while you stay at home and caramelize the Weetabix.
BIG EASY BRIDES – 10:00PM Sunday
(WE) Follow New Orleans
wedding chapel owners Tony and Lou Ann Talavera as they help people get
married very quickly and get that same marriage annulled even quicker.
Your first wedding in the premiere is one with a trailer park theme. Why
wouldn't you just have the wedding IN a trailer park then? It's not like
a Cinderella-themed wedding, where you'd need a pumpkin coach. A trailer
park wedding is feasible. ANTICIPATION: TRASHY GOOD!
'Big Easy Brides' brings the French Quarter
Wedding Chapel to the world
Published: Saturday, August 20, 2011, 3:12 AM
Statistically speaking, marriage may be about
as sound a bet as a coin flip, so why not have a little fun with the
That’s been the business plan for the French
Quarter Wedding Chapel on Burgundy Street for a decade-plus, and
business has been very good.
The Rev. Anthony Talavera and his wife Lou Ann
have presided over more than 10,000 weddings in that time, many of the
imaginatively themed variety.
Vampire weddings. Swamp weddings. Sexy
weddings. Voodoo weddings.
So it was only a matter of time before
reality-TV caught a few on camera.
Yes, New Orleans will be in the reality-TV
spotlight again this weekend. And yes, some of the advance promotional
imagery for “Big Easy Brides” can be discomfiting if propriety and
understated taste are your personal afflictions.
In the videos on the We network’s website for
the new series, launching at 9 p.m. Sunday in the digital-cable We
network, there is drinking, fighting, censored nudity and the familiar
blue blink of cop-car lights.
It’s right on-brand, in other words, for a
certain swath of visitor.
Accordingly, I now pronounce “Big Easy Brides”
OK. Say “I do” to this series. It’s not till death do you part, though a
union of several seasons seems quite likely, and it might be a boost for
the local quickie-wedding industry.
“Bridezillas” will provide a substantial
lead-in audience for the new series, which tracks the expeditious
matrimonial services offered by the Talaveras and their likeable staff.
During a recent interview, Tony Talavera said
he was approached about a prospective series in February by the
production company Bischoff Hervey Entertainment.
The principals in the company are Jason Hervey,
best known for his big-brother role on “The Wonder Years,” and Eric
Bischoff, best known as a pro wrestling impresario. The company’s
reality titles mark affiliations with Billy Ray Cyrus, Hulk Hogan, Ted
Nugent and Scott Baio, among others, for a wide array of networks.
They’re money, in other words, and so might be
their new show thanks to the colorful cast of characters that was
pre-assembled and waiting when producers and cameras moved in.
My early favorites are chapel-staff musician
Dana Abbott and bouncer Gino Galento.
Yes, bouncer. For a wedding chapel.
“They’re crazy as hell, and a whole lot of
personality at all times to take in,” says Abbott of her coworkers in
one of the online promos. “But I still love ‘em to death. They’re my
Talavera said he was wary of the filming at
“We’ve heard so much about reality shows not
having a good slant to them,” he said. “I wanted to make sure it didn’t
tarnish our business, because we want to put a good light on New
“We feel it’s good for the city. It’s
Talavera is personality-plus himself –
possessing a liver and a kidney not originally his own, for starters --
and maybe the best kind of central character for such a show.
He said he gives every couple he weds his phone
number, and invites them to call for post-nuptials counseling if – or
most likely when – needed.
“If they ever need to talk, they’re welcome to
call,” said Talavera, himself a successful husband for nearly 20 years.
“The love is a given. You need to learn to be a husband and wife.”
Do you ever. Talavera said he often later hears
from customers that the common-sense advice he offers has paid off.
“I like to think I have more success than a
reverend or a judge walking into a wedding and then leaving,” he said.
“I give ‘em a little more ammo to succeed.”
The success of “Big Easy Brides” could further
the word that New Orleans is a premier destination for both premeditated
betrothal benders and more impromptu rice showers.
Humidity, after all, is not the only thing in
the air here.
“We are a romantic city,” Talavera said. “If
America loves it, we’ll do more shows.”
Reality Shack Blog
What’s Hot on TV Tonight – Big Brother HoH and
Thankfully time ran out Thursday and we didn’t
have to watch hours of the houseguests running down a slippery lane and
filling up a big bowl with little cups of liquid. They spared us, and
that was decided after the show went off the air. We’ll find out the
winner tonight and who has control of the house. Catch up on your other
favorite shows and head to
First, when the ‘Best Man’ won’t bend to Bridezilla Suzy’s will and
change his speech, Suzy takes matters into her own hands, dumping a
drink all over him. Meanwhile, Bridezilla Brittany seems more interested
in her wedding than in actually marrying her fiancÚ. This
scatter-brained Bridezilla may not be able to focus on much except
berating and badgering her fiancÚ. Nothing, including a broken finger,
excuses him from appeasing Brittany at every turn. 8:00 PM CT WE TV
19. Big Easy
Premiere. When a couple comes in looking for the ultimate trailer park
wedding, their low-budget wish is the snarky wedding coordinator Maria’s
command. Boob cakes, crawfish and an Astro-turf aisle are no problem,
but an angry landlord with strict rules threatens to ruin the bride’s
big day. 9:00 PM CT WE TV
Potts Picks: The Weekend’s Best TV – August
(ALL TIMES ET)
- A bride gets upset with a four-year-old wedding party member for
wearing a tiara on Bridezillas (Sun., 9PM, WE);
- The new reality series Big Easy Brides (Sun., 10, WE) follows
the nuptials that take place at a New Orleans quickie wedding chapel;
As seen on the front
page of Gambit.
When it's time for their
dreams to come true, couples around the country turn to the Rev. Tony Talavera, proprietor
and officiate of the French Quarter Wedding Chapel.
and Jennifer Parratt of Chicago seal the deal with Reverend Tony. Photo by Donn Young
"Most people in our culture,
then, enter engagement and marriage with their full share of irrational ideas and neurotic
behavior. They are relatively blind to both their own and their mate's disturbances. When
they finally see these neurotic manifestations, they stubbornly refuse to accept them.
Instead, they blame the other for being trouble and pity themselves for having to live
with such a troubled person." -- from Creative Marriage, by Albert Ellis and Robert
When you get right down to it, what
are the odds?
The odds that two tiny
threads making their way through the universe would ever find one another? And then -- and
then -- would adhere, would come together to make a seam bound for glory?
Not all the master
computers and their slavish attendants could do the Vegas math needed to come up with
Yet the Wedding Lotto goes
on day by day and today Jeff and Natasha are buying their tickets. At the French Quarter
Wedding Chapel, the Rev. Anthony Talavera officiating.
It is open to the world,
its tall doors pinned open by long Carnival beads and light popping out onto a dark
section of a dark street, Burgundy at Conti. It looks determinedly cheerful. There might
as well be a sign above the entrance, a flip side to Dante: resume hope, all ye who enter
As seen on
ajc.com, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
French Quarter chapel 'an elope destination'
By DREW JUBERA Atlanta Journal-Constitution Staff Writer
JUDI BOTTONI / AP. The Rev. Tony
Talavera performs Vegas-style ceremonies at his French Quarter Wedding Chapel in New
Orleans. "It's just romantic here," he says
New Orleans -- The young
Wyoming couple opted out of the voodoo wedding, the cemetery wedding and the Bourbon
Street balcony wedding, where they'd have to step past a daiquiri machine to climb the
stairs. They chose something more traditional: the by-the-banks-of-Big-Muddy wedding. At
"You're the preacher?" the groom's stepfather asked as the Rev. Tony Talavera
rolled up to a gazebo on the edge of the French Quarter in a three-wheeled scooter,
honking a tricycle horn to announce his arrival.
Also reprinted at Houston Chronical Sunday Edition
seen on nola.com
Everything New Orleans
Weddings 'R' Us
By Siona LaFrance Staff
New Orleans is already
popular among out-of-town couples looking for a romantic wedding destination. And if a
bill to streamline marriage licensing becomes law, this could become an even hotter spot
to tie the knot.
Just above a Bourbon Street souvenir shop, across the street from a nightspot blasting
bass-heavy hip hop, Kate Trott and Barry Burns look into each other's eyes and pledge
their everlasting love.
Family members crowded onto the second floor balcony clap and cheer when the Rev.
Anthony Talavera pronounces the Arizona couple husband and wife. In the Saturday night din
below, a few tourists crane their necks up at the balcony, to the place a sign has
As seen on
I be wed--"Quickie Wedding" for La.
They call him the
marrying man, but the Reverend Tony Talavera is a one-woman man.
What the proverbial they are referring to is purely occupational. Talavera
is the director of the French Quarter Wedding Chapel and Bourbon Streets
An officiate of the California-based Universal Life Church, Talavera has performed
thousands of weddings and recently breached the separation of church and state by
championing a bit of legislation known as the Quickie Weddings.