Los Angeles resident Russell Tims, still euphoric from this month's overturning of California's controversial bill banning same-sex marriage, proposed to his partner on the Jumbotron during Sunday afternoon's Dodgers game. His proposal was summarily rejected, leaving Tims red-faced and humiliated in front of 44,000 fans.
"It was totally spontaneous and out of character for me," said Tims, 36, of Westwood. "But this has been such an inspiring month, and we were having a fun time at the game, so I just went for it. In retrospect, it was a really dumb idea."
Tims says his (now) ex-partner, Paul, had no idea the proposal was coming and, in fact, the two had never even discussed the idea of marriage before. "We had actually only been together for, like, a month. Things were going pretty good between us, but the baseball game was only our third date."
That didn't stop Tims from getting up from his seat during the second inning (he told Paul he "was going to get some beers") and informing an usher of his plan. The usher said he "would see what he could do," and Tims returned to his seat. "When I got back, Paul said to me, 'weren't you going to get beer?' And I remember thinking, 'uh oh, he's totally on to me!' Of course, I now see how ridiculous that was."
Three innings later, the usher walked by Tims's seat and gave him a subtle nod. "I thought my heart was going to beat out of my chest, I was so excited," recalls Tims. Sure enough, as soon as the top of the fifth ended, Tims looked up to see both he and Paul on the Jumbotron, while the P.A. announcer asked the crowd to "turn their attention to the big screen, as Russell has something he would like to ask Paul."
"So I dropped to one knee, took Paul's hand, and asked him if he would do me the honor of being my husband. It was so stupid – I didn't even have a ring. But the crowd was standing and cheering by that point, so I didn't even care."
Needless to say, Paul's reaction was not what Tims was hoping for. "He looked at me, just stunned, and said, and I'll never forget this, 'are you fucking kidding me?' I told him that I wasn't. And he said to me, 'I barely know you.' It was at that point I realized what a huge mistake I had just made."
Paul immediately got up from his seat and disappeared up the aisle, leaving Tims alone, kneeling, and completely dejected. "Imagine getting a bucket of cold water poured on you while getting punched in the stomach while having your pants pulled down in front of a stadium full of people. That's basically how I felt."
Tims says he and Paul haven't spoken since the incident, which he regrets, but that it is "probably for the best." And in any event, he says he has learned a valuable lesson. "Don't propose to a relative stranger on a whim. And if you must, for the love of God, don't do it in front of tens of thousands of people."
An appeal from the decision overturning Proposition 8 is set to be heard by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals this coming December.