GAY STAR WEDDINGS

Published on: March 9, 2004

Rosie O'Donnell's wedding has opened the floodgates!

When the comedienne tied the knot with longtime partner Kelli Carpenter on Feb. 26 in San Francisco, she became the first gay celebrity to get married in an official civil ceremony.

Now insiders say Rosie's bold move has inspired Hollywood's gay community -- and same-sex star marriages could soon be commonplace.

The buzz in Hollywood is: Who's next? And The ENQUIRER has the answers!

We also learned exclusively that bighearted Rosie, a multimillionaire, is so loving and trusting that she tied the knot without a prenuptial agreement.

She and Kelli have been together more than six years and are committed life partners -- raising four children together. "Rosie says she's in this relationship for life, so there's no need to have a prenup," a source close to the couple told The ENQUIRER.

"The big commitment for Rosie and Kelli wasn't getting married. They did that to publicize their opposition to President Bush's proposal to make gay marriages unconstitutional. The big commitment came a couple of years ago when Kelli legally adopted Rosie's children. They both knew then there was no turning back."

Jerome Cleary, a Hollywood publicist and gay activist, told The ENQUIRER that the couple's marriage is a major milestone.

"Rosie was the pioneer, and now others will be inclined to follow in her footsteps and walk down the aisle with their life companions."

Stephen Macias, entertainment media director with the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, told The ENQUIRER that the opportunity to get married "is not something gay people are taking lightly.

"It's well thought-out because it's not something that we have been able to take for granted. Unlike Britney Spears, we don't have the opportunity to get married and divorced in 15 minutes."

Cleary -- a former member of the Lesbian and Gay Advisory Board for the city of West Hollywood -- and other insiders told The ENQUIRER that the following celebs could be next to walk down the aisle:

"Survivor's" original evil genius Richard Hatch is the first to hatch plans to follow Rosie. He has lived with his partner Mark Ranslem for many years -- and the two are raising an adopted son. "I'm absolutely planning to get married," Hatch recently announced.

Miniseries king Richard Chamberlain has been in a monogamous relationship with his longtime love Martin Rabbett since they met in the early 1980s. They've shared a stunning home and stable relationship in Hawaii together for more than 15 years. TV's "Dr. Kildare" shocked some fans when he revealed in his book last year that he's gay. "Given his latest move to tell the world his secret, he would probably welcome the chance to stand in front of his friends, family and authorities and proclaim his love for Martin," said an insider.

Ellen DeGeneres has been with actress Alexandra Hedison for nearly four years -- and they have even exchanged rings. Lately they've been seriously mulling adoption.

"If they go that route, I have no doubt that they'd want to get officially married," says Cleary. And the insider pointed out that Ellen had the courage to "out" herself on her own show and "has been praised by the gay community for her activism." Look for Ellen to be given away by her supportive mom, Betty DeGeneres.

Portia de Rossi, who shot to fame on "Ally McBeal," and her lover Francesca Gregorini are already living like a married couple in a beautiful $2 million home. They even had a lavish engagement party -- attended by Francesca's stepdad Ringo Starr -- and exchanged rings. Marriage would now be natural, say insiders.

Last year singer Melissa Etheridge and actress Tammy Lynn Michaels had a star-studded unofficial wedding, attended by Al Gore and covered by The ENQUIRER. "I'm sure if the option were open at the time, they would have made it official," said Cleary. "And now that it's possible for them, they'll probably go for a legalized civil ceremony."

Added the insider: "Melissa is not ashamed to show her love for Tammy in public. She and her former love, Julie Cypher, have two children whose biological father is singer David Crosby -- and would most likely have them serve as ring-bearer and flower girl in an elaborate wedding."

Cher's daughter Chastity Bono and her girlfriend Anastasia Kardashian have talked a lot about adopting a child -- especially because Cher wants badly to become a grandmother. "Chastity and Anastasia would be perfect candidates for an official marriage," said Cleary. Singer k.d. lang has been with her love Leisha Hailey since 1996, and the two live happily like an old married couple -- making them ideal candidates for marriage, say sources.

Former tennis ace Martina Navratilova also could serve up a winning marriage. She's been with her girlfriend Toni Layton for two years. Several other stars have come out of the closet and although they haven't gone public about their personal relationships, they too have the option of getting wed in the two pioneering cities currently issuing marriage licenses to gay couples -- San Francisco and New Paltz, N.Y.

Among the eligible stars: Broadway veteran and "The Producers" star Nathan Lane, record mogul David Geffen, former E! Entertainment anchor Steve Kmetko (who used to live with Olympic hero Greg Louganis) and "Married . . . with Children" star Amanda Bearse.

Concluded Cleary: "The Hollywood elite is pretty much in agreement that a gay couple willing to commit officially to a relationship should be celebrated and recognized." -- ROBIN MIZRAHI, ROBERT BLACKMON and GIL KAAN