David Bohnett Speeches

Remarks at Marriage of Edward J. Pierce and Robert M. Saltzman

Welcome to this magnificent setting to witness and celebrate the marriage of Ed Pierce and Rob Saltzman. It’s fitting that we pay tribute to Ed and Rob’s love for each other in a home that is the sacred ground of the love story between our host David Sanders and his beloved partner of over 40 years, Jesse Dukeminier, who passed away in 2003. David and Jesse lived their lives openly and with great pride and dignity, and their commitment to each other forms the backdrop for today’s ceremony.

Life for two gay men at Harvard Law School in the 1970’s was quite different that it is today. Ed and Rob remember what it was like to hide their true feelings from everyone else but each other. Having met in the fall of 1976, Ed and Rob didn’t begin dating until almost three years later, in the spring of 1979. They mark their anniversary as May 7, 1980, the day Rob packed up his belongings in a U-Haul and moved to Los Angeles to be with Ed. Their enduring bond of 28 years was forged at a time when it was neither fashionable nor acceptable to be gay. The freedoms and acceptance that same sex couples enjoy today was barely imaginable when Ed and Rob first decided to make a life together.

But, looking backward has never been characteristic of Ed and Rob. Their relentless hope for the future and significant personal investment and commitment in the upcoming generations has helped keep their outlooks fresh and their spirits young. Whether it’s with Robbie and Rosie, Adam and Seth, Alexis and Nick, or so many other fortunate young people, Ed and Rob have proven themselves to be dedicated and devoted uncles and mentors.

Their strength as a couple is based on their strength as individuals, tempered by their deep mutual respect for each other’s talents and accomplishments. After law school, their professional paths took two distinguished and significantly distinct courses. Rob’s passion for social justice and higher education led him to leadership positions with the LA County AIDS Service Department, as well as chief aide to Supervisor Ed Edelman and then on to a distinguished career at USC Law School. Rob’s recent appointment as Police Commissioner for the City of Los Angeles is a testament to his reputation, character, and experience.

Ed led a busy and productive career as an attorney starting with the Kaplan Livingston firm in Beverly Hills and then ultimately with Seyfarth, Shaw in Century City. Ed worked hard for his clients and he was well respected, and well liked. Ed joined GeoCIties as general counsel in 1997. Much of the success of the company, through the public offering in 1998 and the sale to Yahoo! in 1999, were due to Ed’s tireless dedication and tremendous hard work, for which so many are grateful.

These two lives have been intertwined for 28 years. In their time together, Ed and Rob have experienced great heights of joy and profound depths of sorrow. Through it all, they have nurtured and comforted each other, their friends, and their family. With us today are not only those who we see gathered together in this room, but the beloved friends and family who are here in love and spirit to lend their grace and blessing to this special day. Ed and Rob’s love and friendship for us is a gift that none of us take for granted, and one that each of us looks to return in kind.

Ed and Rob have been leaders and pioneers in the effort to secure full equality for lesbians and gay men. Through their active involvement and support of the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center, Family Pride Coalition, Lambda, Lawyers for Human Rights, GLAAD, and GLSEN, Ed and Rob have contributed financial support and a tremendous amount of time and effort, serving with distinction on boards and advisory committees. Their efforts helped pave the way leading up to the California Supreme Court decision granting full marriage equality to lesbians and gay men. Thank you, Ed and Rob, for inviting us to celebrate your union and the work you have done to help us get here.

Rand Schrader performed a number of wedding ceremonies, including Ken and Win’s just over 20 years ago. Many of us were there in 1988 for that joyous event, on a day much like this one. Randy often used a wedding blessing by Dorothy Neil McDonald that I know he would use today, as a toast to his friendship with Ed and Rob;

We do not wish you joy without sorrow
Nor endless day without the healing dark,
Nor brilliant sun without the restful shadow,
Nor tides that never turn against your bark.
We wish you love, and strength, and faith, and wisdom,
Goods, gold enough to help some needy one,
We wish you songs, but also blessed silence,
And God's sweet peace when every day is done.

The ceremony will continue now with David Codell as the Officiate who will lead Ed and Rob through their vows.