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Jun 26, 2017

Celebrating Two Years of National Marriage Equality

June 26, 2017, marks the second anniversary of the historic Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges that brought marriage equality to ALL 50 states. Since then thousands of loving same-sex couples have been able to make their love official - including many of you!

This year, we are honored to share some of their love and stories with you.

On this 2 year anniversary of the marriage equality ruling, Jennifer and Donna from Durham, NC wanted to share their wedding photo from April 23, 2016. "We knew shortly after we started dating that we were meant to be together and the chance to celebrate our love through marriage was the best day of our lives."

Ann and Elaine have been together for 44 years. After marriage became legal in North Carolina, the following Monday they were the first gay couple to apply for a marriage license in Granville County. "We were married before the magistrate the next day whose instructions were '$20, 2 witnesses and no pictures'. Being able to legally marry was extremely validating to us - a very public expression of our love and commitment to each other and our relationship."

"We smile because we can now say, this is my wife and these are our sons. They can grow up in a new world where their family is the new normal. It feels so good to walk into an atmosphere and refer to each other as ‘wife’ with pride." - Nette & Jasmine

Frank and Gary have been a same-sex couple since July 4, 1964, and were legally married in NYC on January 23, 2014. As long time members of Equality North Carolina both are avid defenders of all Civil Rights, but especially those of LGBT people. Over the past few years, they have been featured in 4 videos and were asked to give testimony to a Senate subcommittee in Washington DC on their views on the proposed Anti-Gay Marriage Constitutional Amendment. For more than twenty years they traveled around the country speaking on behalf of Marriage Equality reaching thousands of potential allies.

"On May 19, 2017 my partner and I ‘eloped’ in Taos NM. When we went to the County Clerk of Court’s office for our marriage license, we were congratulated by ALL of the clerks there. It was amazing and heartwarming. The young lady who waited on us informed us that she and her partner had just married in Feb. We asked her if the 2 of them would be willing to attend our wedding ceremony and be witnesses. She very happily accepted. Four women of 2 different generations are represented. Their presence enhanced our marriage and our NM trip."

“Family isn't defined by gender, race, nor sexuality. Family is defined by love. We are so grateful that Love is the Law.” Larry & Antoine

"My husband and I were married in the rotunda of City Hall in San Francisco where we live. I was raised in Winston-Salem and Greensboro, North Carolina. I graduated from Greensboro High School in 1960 and moved to San Francisco in 1969, after finishing my doctoral work, to teach at San Francisco State College, as it was then. My husband's name is Atticus, from San Jose, now also retired, an LCSW for many years at Valley Medical Center in San Jose. Our thirty-first anniversary as a couple will be on July 4th of this year. We were registered domestic partners for about 8 years before we married on July 30th of 2013. Since the domestic partnership law in California was a good one, marriage gave us mostly an even greater security and a sense that we were no longer bound by a less inclusive law but by a universal one. That mattered to us both emotionally and legally. We felt "married" very early in our lives together, but it felt even better to have that feeling made that much more real. On the day we were married, many other gay couples were getting married as well, including some with large numbers of their families present gathered on the stairs or around the first floor of City Hall. (Only five witnesses are allowed in the rotunda during the ceremony.) It was a joyous time, those first days of marriage equality."

"Melanie and Leslie = Love. We've been together for almost 3 years but have known each other for many years. Recently married on May 20th, 2017. The ruling changed our lives because neither of us felt we would get married in this lifetime. May 20th was the best day of our lives and we got to share it with our friends and family which meant the world to us. So thankful!"

Robb and David were married May 23, 2015 in the historic chapel on Pawleys Island, SC -- a location and event that they dreamed about for years, but never thought would happen in their lifetimes. "We were surrounded by family and friends, and married by our former Lutheran pastor from Chatham, NJ, who made a special trip to officiate. Our "unofficial" anniversary is July 3, and this year, we'll celebrate being together for 21 years."

"We were married on October 1, 2016. 13 years ago we had a commitment ceremony on October 1, 2003. We had a space of time that we separated for a while but found our way back to each other. This ruling meant we could gain all the protections that come with marriage that straight couples took for granted. We had all the legal paperwork to cover every contingency we could think of, but the reality is a family member could get any of those overturned with the right judge. Now we have peace of mind that no matter who goes first, the other one will be taken care of."

“The last two years since marriage equality was won have been monumental for our family. After co-parenting our children for 17 years, we finally were able in July of 2016 to complete legal second-parent adoptions for our two children. That was the goal of our lawsuit and finally came to fruition after much effort. We have also attended many same-gender marriages over the last two years, and each one touches us deeply knowing that we had a part in making that a possibility for current and future generations."

"I am a 71-year-old American. I lived and worked in Thailand for 14 years and Jatu and I lived together in Thailand for over 10 years. We have tried 3 times to get him a visa to come to the US to get married in New York but got turned down. Right after the Supreme Court ruled the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional, we took off and got married in New Zealand because we could get Jatu a visa to go there to marry. After the honeymoon, we came back to Thailand and within two weeks applied for a spousal visa for Jatu. After more than a year and a half he was approved and we moved to the non-marriage equality state of North Carolina in 2014. I was born here and so very unsure about the wisdom of moving to a state that did not want us to have the same rights as everyone else who lives here. It was a very short time until the Supreme Court ruling made our marriage the law of the land Everyone thought the sky would fall, but it didn't and even though many Republicans are still trying to get that sky to fall, it isn't likely to unless we don't take care of our democracy. I still feel the joy of that day and cherish our marriage rights even more today."

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