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At Gay Wedding in San Francisco, a Flood of Support from the REALTOR® Community

Brian Copeland, right, at his wedding ceremony with spouse Greg Bullard, left, and their 2-year-old son, Micah.

It’s what happens between sessions at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo that makes the experience of NAR’s biggest annual event for many attendees. New friendships budding, business connections made, memories added to the bank. And one practitioner at the San Francisco convention this year logged one of the biggest memories of all: Getting married — legally, finally — to his spouse of nine years.

Brian Copeland, GRI, ABR, CRS, an agent at Village Real Estate Services in Nashville, Tenn., exchanged vows with Greg Bullard, a pastor, at San Francisco’s Fay Park near Lombard Street on Tuesday. And the REALTOR® community was there to rally around the couple and their 2-year-old son, Micah Copeland, to show their love and support.

“We knew we wanted to get everything legally done by the end of 2013, and most states [near Tennessee] that offer marriage equality were hours away and required a waiting period between license and ceremony,” Copeland says. “We would be in San Francisco for NAR and knew that many of our REALTOR® friends would be here at the same time. It simply made too much sense. That’s why we did it.”

Present at the ceremony were many of the couple’s friends from home, past NAR presidents, many state and local association executives, countless NAR staff members, and REALTOR® friends from 20 states and two countries.

“The support [for our marriage] in the REALTOR® organization reflects exactly how I expect REALTORS® to treat every consumer — with dignity, respect and kindness, regardless of background,” Copeland says.

He says he posted ceremony photos to Facebook Tuesday night, and before the night was done, “over 4,000 likes, comments, and posts had poured in.” In the last few days, as he has attended the convention, “one out of every three people — no joke — I pass at NAR says, ‘Congratulations, we’re so happy for you,’” Copeland says. “It has shown us the wide welcome and deep love in the REALTOR® family.”

Copeland says his marriage to Bullard strengthens his family, particularly because of federal protections that will now apply to little Micah. The couple will now have joint-parenting rights, and they can cover Micah in a family health insurance plan. Micah is also guaranteed child support.

Though Copeland and Bullard now have federal recognition of their union, it won’t be recognized by the state that they are returning home to. Still, Copeland says that even if Tennessee did legalize same-sex marriage, it wouldn’t solve all of their problems.

“When people ask us if we have had a hard time in Tennessee due to the lack of marriage equality, we just do not see it that way,” he says. “We often forget that legal status does not equal no discrimination, nor does it mean that life is easier.”

For now, he’s just counting his blessings.

“My company, Village Real Estate, is the beacon of diversity and inclusiveness in the real estate space. While we use the term ‘inclusive’ often to describe ourselves, many companies do not live the value,” Copeland says. “Thanks to my amazing company, I’ve never been treated as second-class or not worthy of the same regard as my straight, married counterparts. So, ultimately, nothing really changes in my business. In my practice, my speaking, and my leadership, I’ve always been 100 percent honest, open, and out. We all want someone we can trust. My life is an open book.”

Graham Wood

Graham Wood is a senior editor for REALTOR® Magazine. He can be reached at gwood@realtors.org.

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Comments
  1. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the LOVE I saw at this wonderful ceremony.

    So glad I could be there to see it.

    Ira

  2. It was a beautiful ceremony for two amazing people. You could feel the love from everyone there. I was blessed to be part of it and be part of this amazing community that surrounded them on this very special day.

    Much love to Brian, Greg and little Micah.

  3. Jonathan and I couldn’t be happier for you, Brian, Greg, and Micah! We were thrilled to be a part of your loving ceremony and are thankful for the protection your official union allows for sweet Micah.

  4. It was a beautiful ceremony and such a wonderful time to catch up with so many great friends.

  5. Ben and I were so lucky to get to share this day with you guys. It was an amazing afternoon, full of love and the support for which our REALTOR community is famous. Love you, Brian, Greg, and Micah!

  6. Love never fails! I am overjoyed for Brian and Greg and there courage to publicize this. If you want to see what true love looks like you need look no further than this relationship. More so, I’ve seen the love and care they’ve given to their son both up close and from afar and parents from all walks of life could learn from these two. Congratulations again, my dear friends!

  7. Love is so beautiful. This ceremony is a testimony for good! Here’s to all folks being allowed to be together legally.

  8. Bobbi Howe

    So blessed to have been a part of this beautiful event with 2 of my best friends. I love this family more than words will ever be able to express.

  9. I’m so happy for Brian! He’s a great person, REALTOR, and someone I’m
    Glad to call a friend…

    Congrats!!

  10. i will go along with anything in san fran.

  11. Kristin Smith

    BEAUTIFUL ceremony! So thankful to witness the unconditional love between Brian and Greg.. Love is in the air in the city by the bay!! #Equality

  12. Thank you so much for inviting me. The wedding was so sweet and special–a true expression of honest, pure love. Congratulations and best wishes to Brian and Greg!

  13. Jay Thompson

    It was an honor to be there and watch this loving family celebrate. Some day, soon I hope, events like this won’t be newsworthy.

  14. I’m so grateful that so many friends posted pictures and comments during and after Brian and Greg’s beautiful wedding. I was sorry to miss NAR and Hillary Rodham Clinton this year, but even sorrier to miss The Big Event…and my chance to finally meet Micah.

    Brian is a shining star in our business and an inspiring role model for so many of us. I’m grateful that he has so generously shared his mad media and marketing skills. (Four THOUSAND likes!!!)

    I’m proud to be from a state (California) where marriage equality is the law and to live in a state (Hawaii) where it will be the law in just a few days. I look forward to a day when people of every hue and stripe are treated, as Brian says, with with dignity, respect and kindness, regardless of background.

    Ho’omaika’i, Mazel Tov, Congratulations Brian, Greg, and Micah, our First Family of Real Estate!

  15. Jonathan Schwartz

    I am not a Realtor, nor do I play one on TV, but my wife, Dawn Thomas, is a Realtor and that’s how I came to know Mr. Brian Copeland (and now Mr. Greg Bullard & Micah). I have followed Brian and Greg’s story through Dawn’s association with them in the Real Estate community and on Facebook. I was overjoyed when I heard that he and Greg would be married here in San Francisco at an evening ceremony at Fay Park. I was even more thrilled to be invited to this ceremony: a highlight of my life, more importantly a highlight and milestone for Brian, Greg, and Micah: what wonderful and meaningful experience!

    I applaud NAR & “Speaking of Real Estate” for choosing to recognize and embrace its diverse and vibrant community. This is truly yet another example of something that is dear to my own heart: “an inclusive society is infinitely stronger than an exclusive society.” After all what could be more strengthening than the union of two people joining together physically, emotionally, and spiritually? These are the types of bonds knit our communities together: be it Real Estate, Internet, the home town, city, state, country, or the world.

  16. So happy for you both! Brian and Greg, wishing you many many years of happiness in marriage and in health to you both and to Mica and your extended families. Brian, since I met you personally at NAR Orlando 2008 I am continuously amazed by your contributions to the REALTOR family. Celebrating your and Greg’s marriage with Mica during NAR was very generous of you. Thank you and sending warm hugs.

  17. Thankful to N.A.R. and Graham for giving such a beautiful family occasion the pedestal it deserves among one of the largest regulated communities and individuals who honor family and home. I’m honored I was able to witness such a loving moment, that Brian and Greg so openly shared.

  18. Jason Marquis

    Watching the ceremony. Was both inspiring and heartwarming. To see two people much in love, gives hope to those of us who haven’t found our soulmates.

  19. I love this incredible couple, and was honored to get to be a part of their beautiful ceremony.

  20. Chad Cardani-Trollinger

    So happy for the love that the two of you share and for this beautiful occasion that so many got to share. There is nothing more special that the witnessing of love and commitment. Congrats to you both – know we love and support you and your beautiful family. Thank you for all you do!

  21. Kristin Smith

    LET LOVE DEFINE FAMILY!!! Congratulations to Brian, Greg and Micah!

  22. Helayne and I were blessed to attend this beautiful event, and the Love was evident to All!

  23. Marcie Roggow

    I caught an earlier flight to San Francisco just so I could make this treasured event between my real estate ‘son’ Brian and his spouse Greg! Beautiful people, perfect afternoon gathering of friends and ‘REALTOR family’. To witness that much joy and share it with others was a highlight of the trip to SF!! I know that this marriage will last forever. Brian once told me that after their first date he knew that there would never been anyone else in his life but Greg!

  24. Pamela Carpenter

    It was an honor to be included in this beautiful celebration! We couldn’t be happier for you Brian, Greg, and Micah. Big hugs. Thanks for writing this article.

  25. Graham, it was an honor for me to be asked by Brian and Greg to officiate their wedding and it’s an honor to read your recount of this very important moment in their lives. Thank you for telling the story with such dignity. I am not a member, but this story, and the support Brian and Greg received from so many in the NAR leadership makes, me proud to be associated with the National Association of REALTORS®.

  26. So happy for two special friends to be able to share in their joy! Congratulations!

  27. Truly an honor to be as to witness the love of two people personified and shared with so many! Blessings to Greg, Brian and Micah!

  28. Congratulations Brian, Greg, and Micah! So very happy for you – the love and happiness you have for each other truly shows. You make a beautiful family! Hope to see you soon to congratulate you in person!

  29. What an awesome day! Such a beautiful celebration of love and family. I was honored to be part of Brian and Greg’s special day. I loved being asked to capture their day by photographing the event. Hopefully the love of Brian and Greg as well as the love of everyone there came through in the photos. I love you all so much!

  30. Such a blessing to have been a part of such a beautiful moment for such a beautiful family surrounded by some of my most respected colleagues. Love & blessings to Brian,Greg & Micah!

  31. Sher Powers

    Leadership takes many forms. Both Brian Copeland and Greg Bullard show exemplary character in living their personal lives and careers with high integrity and transparency. I am proud of the Realtor community that walks the talk, supporting diversity and shunning discrimination by standing in union with Brian and Greg at their marriage ceremony. I am delighted and proud to be friends with both of them, and know first-hand the goodness in their hearts and that their son Micah is a blessed and dearly loved little boy. It was an honor to witness their wedding ceremony and celebrate their legal union. I am delighted to live in a time when this moment could be celebrated and honored openly. And kudos to Realtor Magazine for showing another form of leadership by posting this article beautifully written by Graham. Love in action. Gratitude abounds!

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