1,100 Miles Later
Sometimes total strangers can change your life.
No matter the odds stacked against us, Becky and I both knew we would get married some day. After dating for two years, we set the date: June 19, 2010. However, we live in Texas where same-sex marriages are not recognized.
The majority of my family is not supportive of our marriage, so we decided to take our ceremony north to Becky’s side of the family, who are amazingly supportive and encouraging. Most of her family lives in Illinois so we planned a church ceremony in Rockford.
But during the year of our engagement, we heard the news of Iowa's Supreme Court decision in favor of same-sex marriages and instantly revised our plans to include a road trip to Davenport, Iowa.
I didn’t really think making a marriage legal was going to change much in my mind. After all, we were going to have a nice-sized church wedding with dresses, bridesmaids and the whole hubbub.
But on June 16, Becky, Pat (Becky’s Mom), Kathy (Becky’s cousin) and I piled in the car and drove across the state line to a little courthouse in Davenport.
As I stood hand in hand with Becky in a very small office, and the magistrate began to ask us if we would honor, respect and love each other till death do us part, the reality of my marriage sunk in. All of the doubts negative people had spoken about my relationship were null in that moment. All of the hurt from relatives not recognizing the legitimacy of our engagement faded.
Our marriage is legal.
Three days later, on June 19, Becky and I had a church ceremony in Illinois. Folks attended whom we had never even met. Close family and friends were there, and even Becky’s 84-year-old grandmother attended with approval.
While the ceremony was everything I ever dreamed of, it is the vows said in Iowa that echo in my memory.
And even though we were more than 1,100 miles away from where we call home, standing in a stranger’s office Becky and I found more love, more acceptance and more reassurance from a state of Iowans whom we will probably never know.