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Marino, longtime boyfriend engaged


Meet the happy couple — Frank Marino and his fiance, Alex Schechter. They met when Schechter was 20 and Marino was 29. Now after two decades of love, they are getting married.

This week, Marino was finishing a performance of his “Divas” female impersonators show at The Quad, when Schechter, a producer, walked onstage and proposed.

Both men swear this was not stunt.

“I think you could tell from the look on his face, like, ‘What the hell is happening to my show?’ ” Schechter says.

Their wedding could be made possible by same-sex marriage rulings from the Supreme Court — rulings that could clear the way for gay and lesbian marriage in Nevada, possibly depending on other couples’ cases in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Anyway, starting in August, Marino and Schechter break ground on an 11,000-square-foot house — with a hair salon, theater and reception yard — near Buffalo Drive and Sahara Avenue.

They will marry there if gay marriage clears here in time. If not, they might wed in California or Hawaii.

For now, Marino is wearing a “gorgeous” engagement ring by Mordechai Yerushalmi of The Jewelers (he made Liberace’s famous piano ring).

At the wedding, both men will wear tuxes.

“Drag is just what I do for a living,” Marino says. “I’ll wear the white tuxedo, but I’ll make sure it has a big black hem.”

It will be an “over-the-top” event, Marino says.

“I live my life on the motto: Too much is just enough,” he says. “All the bridesmaids can be male strippers in G-strings. I want to make it a visual wedding.”

Building their dream home for the wedding could take a year to 18 months. Marino says: No problem.

“It will take me 18 months to get the pre-nup written,” Marino says.

I joked to Schechter their house will be so big, he and Marino will never see each other in it.

“That’s why it’s going to work for another 20 years,” Schechter joked back.

Marino puts a sexier spin on the big house: “We can run around and play catch-me, catch-me.”

Marino has lighthearted jokes about the politics of this situation.

“It’s about time they legalize gay marriage. I mean, Liza Minnelli has been doing it for years,” Marino says. “We’ll be sure to let everyone know where our bridal registry is.”

But behind the jokes are serious issues concerning the simple matter of love.

“I have a lot of friends who did go around the country and get married. The unfortunate part was, it (gay marriage) was never able to stand up when they came back home” to Vegas, Marino says.

“A lot of people don’t realize, it’s not just a matter of getting married,” Marino says. “If their spouse gets hurt, they aren’t allowed in the hospital room,” and they aren’t allowed spousal insurance or other benefits.

“There are no rights for a gay partnership, like there are for a straight partnership.”

This week, a USA Today poll found only 40 percent of Americans are opposed to gay marriage these days.

“In years to come, they’ll look back and say, ‘Can you imagine there was a day when gay people couldn’t get married?’ ” Marino says.

“There was a time when women couldn’t vote. We look back now at certain laws that are so ridiculous, we can’t even imagine how they existed,” he says.

“But I believe in Americans, and I believe one day, they will get it right.”

Doug Elfman’s column appears Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. He also writes for Neon on Fridays. Email him at delfman@reviewjournal.com. He blogs at reviewjournal.com/elfman.