After 37 years, former Long Beach City Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske, Flo Pickett get married

Gerrie Schipske, left, and Flo Pickett exchanged wedding vows June 26 in Sacramento while they vacationed with some friends who live 49 miles south in Stockton. Photo: Gerrie Schipske.

LONG BEACH — After 37 years as a couple, Gerrie Schipske and Flo Pickett have tied the knot and are celebrating with a romantic honeymoon to Europe, including a trip to Paris.

Schipske and Pickett exchanged wedding vows June 26 in Sacramento while they vacationed with some friends who live 49 miles south in Stockton.

Schipske, the former Long Beach City Councilwoman who spent two terms representing the 5th District, shared the news on her Facebook page in late July. Schipske was the city’s first open lesbian to serve on the council (2006-2014) and to run for mayor in 2013.

‘IMPORTANT TO CONFIRM OUR RELATIONSHIP’

Schipske and Pickett had been talking about marriage on and off for a year, Schipske, 67, said in an interview.

We just thought it was the right time,” Schipske said. “We are getting more aware that we don’t have forever.”

Pickett is a realtor and former Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District teacher and counselor.

Schipske has been a registered nurse practitioner, attorney and Cal State Long Beach instructor. She has also served as a Long Beach City College trustee and was the city’s first public information officer in the late 1970s.

“We also made it legal because Flo and I assumed everyone thought we were already married or domestic partners. We thought it important to confirm our relationship,” Schipske said. “Besides, we have three grown children and a grandchild, and we thought it important to them as well to make it legal.”

ROMANTIC HONEYMOON

The honeymoon started July 22 with a week in Paris, followed by two 12-day cruises throughout Northern Europe, including Ireland, Denmark and Germany. Russia is also on the itinerary, Schipske said.

Instead of wedding rings, Schipske and Pickett wear sterling silver wedding bands that their friends purchased for $15.

“We love these simple bands. They are lightweight and they look sweet,” Schipske said. “Every so often, we just hold up our hands to show each other the rings and smile.”

‘WE FEEL SETTLED AND HAPPY’

After 37 years, how does it feel to be married?

“You know, it does feel different. We just were talking about that,” Schipske said. “Somehow we both just feel settled and happy.”

About the author

Phillip Zonkel

Award-winning journalist Phillip Zonkel spent 17 years at Long Beach's Press-Telegram, where he was the first reporter in the paper's history to have a beat covering the city's vibrant LGBTQ. He also created and ran the popular and innovative LGBTQ news blog, Out in the 562.

He won two awards and received a nomination for his reporting on the local LGBT community, including a two-part investigation that exposed anti-gay bullying of local high school students and the school districts' failure to implement state mandated protections for LGBT students.