Kurt B. Reighley & Mark Mitchell: Still Evolving

Local couples share their thoughts on the historic Referendum 74 vote, and on the nature of love.

“We’re not suited to each other at all,” Mark Mitchell announces by way of introducing himself and his partner of 10 years, Kurt Reighley. “I am loud and vulgar, and Kurt is nice and sweet.” But this brashness has played out very well for him over the course of their relationship. The two met in 2002 at a Pioneer Square club; Reighley was the DJ, and Mitchell was a guest. When Reighley played “I’ll Play the Fool” by Dr. Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band, Mitchell “swooped down” on him and announced that he was to be Reighley’s new boyfriend. “I threw myself at him, and it worked,” he says.

They are both self-employed, Reighley as a writer—his most recent book is The United States of Americana (Harper, 2010)—and as DJ El Toro at KEXP-FM 90.3. Mitchell designs and sews custom wedding gowns and costumes for local burlesque artists, and teaches sewing at the Capitol Hill fabric store Stitches.

While they live together in a committed relationship, the Capitol Hill couple plans to marry—someday—should the referendum be approved. Their wedding plans are continually evolving. Mitchell envisions 12 people on the steps of the Seattle Asian Art Museum in Volunteer Park, just when the morning sun first hits the building. Reighley envisions a big affair, with several hundred of their nearest and dearest.

Both have seen their share of hair-raising wedding scenarios—Mitchell as a gown designer, and Reighley as a DJ—to know that there’s no need to rush into anything. “It’s not like we need to get married,” says Mitchell. “We are committed without that. But we want the right to get married.”

He is stunned at the progress gay rights have made. “Thirty years ago, people laughed at the idea that two men could get married,” he says. While nobody knows what will happen at the polls, Mitchell is sanguine: “We’ve already won,” he says. “It’s just a matter of time now.”