“The timing worked out,” Mitchell says. “We wanted to do it to show people that it is legal to do this, maybe not in Georgia, but in our nation’s capitol. We did it to show love for each other and share that commitment to set an example.”
The journey was some 1,400 miles roundtrip. The distance didn’t offer a chance for many of the couple’s friends or family to attend, though some family members were able to watch the ceremony thanks to a Skype video chat.
“That’s a good distance from Atlanta,” Mitchell says of the ceremony. “That’s why we had the initial idea of having the reception here in Atlanta; a lot of friends wanted to support us. ‘Hey, we could do some other things. We could have a fundraiser for Lifeline Animal Project.’ That’s one of our biggest causes.”
Mitchell is the front office manager for Lifeline Animal Project’s College Park location. Lifeline is an Atlanta animal nonprofit organization that advocates no-kill solutions for the city’s homeless pets. The organization also provides low-cost spay/neuter services.
“We have a tremendous outreach program,” Mitchell says. “We operate two clinics, one is in Avondale Estates, the other is in College Park.”
The couple will celebrate their nuptials at Mary’s in East Atlanta Village on Feb. 2 from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Mary’s has pledged to donate 15 percent of the bar’s evening haul to the Animal Lifeline Project.
“I hope for a great turnout. This is not just about Rob and I; the biggest thing is Lifeline. The more people that are there, the more drinks are bought and the more Lifeline can come away with. I hope for the bar to be full,” Mitchell says.
Hors d’oeuvres will be served and guests will be invited to partake in a wedding cake, Mitchell says.
And while the couple celebrates their legal marriage, at least legal in places that recognize such unions, Mitchell says he is encouraged by recent gains in the equality fight.
Such success, he says, can help press lawmakers in states like Georgia, where same-sex marriages are constitutionally prohibited.
“Atlanta is one of the largest cities in the Southeast. We should make it known to our lawmakers that [marriage] is a big issue. We’re going to make it, people.”
Top photo: Christopher Mitchell (left) and Robert Keller plan to celebrate their Washington, D.C. marriage with a Lifeline Animal Project fundraiser at Mary’s. (Photo via Facebook)