Today marks the full 30th year Ron and I have been committed to each other as a couple. After meeting in August and spending a lot of time together, ( I had 45 days of vacation I was required to use ) Ron asked me to be with him, to join our lives. I was very much in agreement. On October 12th 1990 Ron and I pledged our love and our commitment to each other. This was long before same sex marriage was allowed, and in my job there was open discrimination against gay people. Ron was unable to get any real employment in our area other than part time temp work doing accounting despite a degree in finance because he fought the town council in the largest town in our area to open and keep running a bar / dance club for LGBTQ+ people. After we met I took Ron out of the bar because he had bad lungs and a breathing problem and during this time smoking was still allowed in bars. I was making more than enough money for both of us and I did not care if he worked at all. He took great care of me and I was eating better than I had in a lifetime. The people at my job were incensed telling me I was being taken advantage of and how he should be out working, but they got offended when I pointed out that those saying these things their wives were not working.
Our lives were full and we had ups and downs, great times and struggles. In January of 2015 the State of Florida gave up fighting and accepted legalised same sex marriage. Ron and I wanted the legal version of our long time commitment for the legal protections and many state and government protections / tax breaks. But we also wanted to try to keep it in some way a memory of our original commitment which means so much to us both. So on January 12th 2015 Ron and I were married in the Lee County Clerks offices. We did not have time to prepare much but the people there in that office were terrific. I have posted and written about how wonderful they were.
We arrived with James, our son, and I was prepared to face bigotry and anger. We had come in a couple days earlier and filled out the paperwork. The county offered a secular marriage for opposite gender couples for a small fee and we had selected that option on our papers. Remember this was the time when Kim Davis was still a hero for denying a same sex couple the paperwork for their marriage that they were clearly due. We are in the South Western part of Florida which is not like the liberaal blue Eastern Southern Florida we came from.
We got there right at the opening of the office, wanting this official marriage for what we have spent our life doing anyway, but needing the legal protections as I had lost my job and Ron’s employer was refusing to add me to his insurance even though they did unmarried opposite couples. Our being married would force them to allow me on his insurance which we really needed. We had also both watched religious Christian doctors ignore same sex couples wishes and exclude the same sex partners of patients from information, denying them any rights of family and claiming they were only friends legally.
These are all things the Obama administration addressed and made illegal that tRump has rolled back and made legal again.
As we finished everything we needed to do I noticed there were three people standing behind the clerk, who was clearly nervous and strangely bubbly. She said could we give her a minute and she turned to huddle with the three people behind her. I was get prepared to have what should have been a joyous moment turned into a bitter fight. The lady came back with one of the women she had been talking to. She explained that this was her boss the elected official in charge. My heart was sinking, I could tell Ron was also preparing for a problem. Then the lady asked if she could conduct our marriage, we were to be the first in the county, and how everyone had asked to do but she was the boss, and even though it was not normal but was it OK if everyone in the office who was able could come into the room with us. They simply wanted to be part of this moment.
Ron and I got giddy, and of course it was OK.
I forget the deal that was the package to get married there , I think it was like 10 minutes ceremony and 15 pictures. 45 Minutes later we were still having office people coming in and getting pictures with us. They took over 40 photos and gave them to us. Seems we were the first same sex couple in the county to be married and it seemed a lot of people wanted to be involved. I was stunned that they were not only so accepting but really wanted to be involved in the first same sex marriages. The entire office had redecorated the marriage room at their own expense because the county had not given them the money in the budget. I admit it was an uplifting and enlightening experience.
Now the joy of that moment is undiminished, but the Republicans in the state have never stopped trying to assault our same gender marriage. The Republicans nationwide have endorsed the religious leaders who claim we are evil and destroying the nation, causing all the destruction of natural forces across the land ( and boy do I wish I was that powerful ) , that we are preying on their children and destroying their rights as they do everything possible to take away our equality in society. The Republican senate is right now forcing through a SCOTUS nominee who is sure gays are an abomination to her god by her religious doctrines and she is on record saying that LGBTQ+ people have no equal rights and our marriages are unconstitutional. She not only wants to take away LGBTQ+ rights but also the rights of females to control their own bodies and reproductive organs. She also wants to create laws that force all of us to live by the doctrines of her religion. She has written the goal of becoming a lawyer is to force the coming of the kingdom of god.
Simply put in 2015 Ron and I were finally able after 25 years of being in a loving great and grand relationship to enjoy the same rights and benefits that different gender couples have been getting. These Republican religious people hate that we get the same rights they do. They do not care about our relationship, our love, that our feelings are the same as theirs. They simply care that we do not get equal treatment to them, that we are not treated as they are, that we do not get the same respect for our loving marriages that they do theirs. They seem so insecure in their relationships they want to deny ours. That is their real objection to same gender marriage, it makes our love equal to theirs. It says far more about them than it does us. BTW they said if us gays and lesbians were able to legally get married it would destroy marriage, even cause straight people not to get married. How has that worked out? Has straight marriages stopped? Again says more about them than us. Oh well, it has been an interesting 30 years. I am looking forward to the 31st and beyond. Hugs