Hope on the Horizon
As the state of Virginia nears marriage equality, a lesbian bride shares her story of love, regardless of the law.
Yesterday I got a text from one of my dear friends. It read: Did Virginia get marriage?!
I immediately stopped what I was doing and started Googling and checking Facebook faster than my fingers could tap on my iPhone. Sure enough, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals denied a request by a northern Virginia county clerk to delay its ruling that struck down Virginia’s marriage equality ban. While Virginia does not have marriage equality just yet, this means it's so close that I can taste it. It's reminiscent of the lemon with raspberry butter cream cake I had on my wedding day.
My wife and I have been together for almost seven years, and married for three. I remember a specific occasion, after knowing each other for about two weeks, where we were hanging out with some friends, and she tried on this vintage wedding gown she'd found at a thrift store. That was it for me. Staring, I knew...she was my future. I'm super into surprises, so even though I knew practically right away that I was going to marry her; I kept it a secret...for three years.
Luckily, she still said yes.
For our third anniversary we planned a getaway to Chincoteague, VA—ya know, where the wild ponies roam. I didn't sleep a wink the night before I planned to propose. The next morning after an insanely delicious breakfast at the gorgeous Garden and Sea Inn, we packed a little picnic and off we went to Assateague Island. We spread our blanket out on a spot at the beach with a perfect view of the ocean, and I tried to act cool and calm as we snacked on cheeses and sipped wine until I felt the moment was right. This next part was so ridiculously perfect; I couldn't have paid for such a grand romantic moment. As the sun started to set we saw a swarm of butterflies flutter right over our heads. With sweaty palms, I set up a camcorder on its tripod and told her I was taking a timed photo. I hit record, jogged back over to her, and with one hand around her waist, I wrested to get the ring box out of my cardigan's right pocket. Finally, I dislodged the box and got down on one knee. With shaky hands and my heart slamming against my chest, I asked her to marry me. Tears were streaming down her face when she said yes. I stood to wipe her tears away and kiss her, and then we both had a good laugh as we realized I'd proposed with the ring box upside down.
With the possibility of my marriage finally being recognized in the state I call home, I'm so overjoyed that it's hard focus on anything except that overwhelming joy, and all the memories I have of my proposal and marriage to my super-cute wife.
Shortly after I proposed, same-sex marriage became legal in D.C. So, we ventured up there a few weeks before our marriage ceremony here in Virginia to do all the official paperwork stuff. Technically, we were married on October 4th in Washington, D.C.
However, the real celebration was 25 days later on a drizzly, but beautiful autumn day. It's funny—you plan and plan all these tiny little details and when your wedding day arrives, all sorts of crazy stuff happens and things go wrong. I was a nervous wreck the days leading up to my wedding, but on the day of, I was cool as a cucumber. My incredible friends and amazing sister (who was also my maid of honor) just made everything happen. Any issues were handled without so much of an utterance of their existence to me or my wife. It really was a perfect day, rain and all.
I am so incredibly grateful for the life I have. The wait for my marriage to be recognized as legal has been a long one, but I can't imagine the wait some have endured. Of course we still have a long way to go before we're truly equal, but this is such wonderful and inspiring progress.
At the end of the day, I look into my wife's eyes and I just feel so fulfilled and lucky. I can't fathom how anyone could deny us the right to share a life together, a home, and we hope with all our hearts...in the not so distant future, a child. As we continue to build our lives and plan for the future, slowly but surely, the walls standing in the way of marriage equality are crumbling. Hand in hand, we'll watch each piece fall and for every hateful, jagged shard that falls and weakens those walls—minds everywhere will begin to open to the fact that love doesn't falter in the face of intolerance.
There is hope for a different future for the countless lesbian and gay couples living in Virginia. For my wife and I, in just one week, our marriage could finally be complete and whole here at home.