Mark Nedlin had no idea when he went to his high school prom and met Marc Lamb in 1984 they’d still be together 32 years later.
“When we met at the prom, I assumed [Marc] was straight. I was hoping otherwise,” says Nedlin, who grew up in Long Beach, New York. “I was dreaming and fantasizing. I didn’t believe he was gay, I just assumed he was straight. We did spend the night together — talking — and we left our dates. We spent the night walking the city.”
The two instantly fell in love.
“I saw him from across the room and he was not dressed like everyone else. No tuxedo,” recalls Lamb, also from Long Beach.
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Nedlin says he wore a purple Tahari striped suit bought by his grandmother. “It was a ladies. I was teeny, so that was the only thing I could wear.”
That was a Friday night. The young men made plans to meet the next day at the beach, where Nedlin worked collecting admission tickets.
Lamb wasn’t there early in the day, as Nedlin expected.
“I didn’t know he was religious and spent the whole day with his family, shul, shabbos,” Nedlin says. “I thought he was not coming and that was the end of that little fantasy. Then at 4 o'clock I was ready to close. … Marc showed up. I was in shock.”
Afterward, they went to Nedlin’s home. His parents had gone out and the two young men “fooled around,” Lamb says.
Then Nedlin’s parents unexpectedly showed up. Lamb nervously escaped the house by climbing down from a second-floor balcony.
The two dated that summer and in November moved in together. Through the years, they both worked in sales jobs and lived in Brooklyn’s Park Slope neighborhood and on Park Avenue in Manhattan.
They moved to Miami in 2010. Both men are active members at Temple Israel of Greater Miami, a reform congregation. Lamb also attends Saturday services at an Orthodox Chabad.
Lamb and Nedlin married Sept. 9, 2011, in New York City six weeks after that state legalized same-sex marriage.
“I never thought it would be a big deal,” says Lamb, now 54. “But once it happened, it really changed everything. The idea that it was legal legitimized it in a way it had never been before. A psychological benefit.”
Adds Nedlin, 49: “I’m proud to say he’s my husband and I make sure people know that. It’s something that I own. Even Marc’s father, who accepted me for many years and loves me, says he’s happy we got married for legal reasons, but ‘Don’t tell anybody.’ I don’t listen to that.”