The day after their June 28 wedding in Toronto, the couple attended that city's Gay Pride parade. At the request of a parade organizer, they hopped into a limousine there in honor of Ontario's recently wed same-sex couples. What happened next was out of their control.
Associated Press photographer Kevin Frayer captured the pair popping out of the limo's sunroof, champagne glasses raised in a toast. On July 8, America Online ran Frayer's photograph on its welcome screen. It was as if every person who logged on to AOL that day received the Scheuerman-Stallones' wedding announcement.
Steve says he and his partner are "relatively private individuals."
So how did two unassuming Kansas guys become poster boys for the new gay marriage law north of the border?
On June 10, Ontario's highest court declared that the legal definition of marriage -- "the voluntary union for life of one man and one woman" -- was incompatible with Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The court changed one man and one woman to two persons. With that, the province of Ontario joined the Netherlands and Belgium in legally recognizing marriage between same-sex partners.
Members of Ontario's gay community were scheduled to celebrate Gay Pride in Toronto eighteen days later.
Brent, 51, and Steve, 56, had been a couple for twelve years.
"About two years ago, Brent asked me, 'Would you marry me if it was legal?' and I said, 'Sure,'" Steve says. "When it became legal in Ontario, he said, 'Do you want to go there and get married?' We had no hotel reservations, no plane tickets, nothing -- all we had was a copy of the marriage application off the Internet." To complete the paperwork, both men needed birth certificates. When Brent couldn't find his, he went to Topeka to get a copy. After all that trouble, Steve says, "It was, excuse me, time to shit or get off the pot."
They found a hotel seven blocks from the wedding site and parade route. Brent says he'd heard that Toronto's City Hall would be open to accommodate an expected onslaught of couples ready to tie the knot. "We showed up way early and were the first ones in line."
All of the scheduled wedding times had been taken, but city officials squeezed them in. A nearby minister agreed to marry the pair. No witnesses? No problem. Amid the media swarm, a couple of straight reporters from Dallas stood up for them.
"I don't cry, but I just started bawling," Brent says. "All my life, people have said 'You're not good enough,' and now I was good enough to be married."
The next day, the two men walked to the Gay Pride festivities. There, several white limousines were ready to roll. On the trunk of one were two green-and-white carnation hearts encircling a "Just Married" sign.
"We asked if we could have our pictures taken next to a limousine," Brent says. The couple was soon sharing the limo as it snaked down Yonge Street.
"We had been on television the night before from the wedding," Steve says. "But what we didn't expect was the crowd yelling and screaming 'Congratulations, Steve! Congratulations, Brent!' We're a couple of ordinary Joes, nobody special. It was amazing."
Once they got home, the Scheuerman-Stallones had a slightly different reception. "We've gotten a lot of positive support but also some mixed," Steve says. "And the surprising thing is, the negative has been from gay people. We've had people say, 'You did it for politics' or 'You did it for glory.' That's the last thing we did it for."
The Scheuerman-Stallones understand that their native land doesn't recognize their marriage. Yet they're also unfazed by the argument that same-sex unions would mean the decline of Western civilization.
"People on the far right say that [gay marriages] will cheapen marriage, where it won't mean what it did," Brent says. "We've been married a week and a half, and I ask, Has marriage been cheapened? We are legally married no matter what the U.S. or state government says.
"It's the American story," Brent adds. "The American gay story. If there wasn't stigma attached to it, I'd call it a fairy tale."