|On September 17, 2008, Jim & I were married in a small ceremony in our back yard with neighbors and local friends in attendance. Our good friend, Judy Naimo, Minister of the Great Brotherhood Order married us at 6pm.We decided to wait until our anniversary day (September 17th) so we wouldn’t have to remember two dates.
We are grateful the laws of the State of California were extended to same-sex couples in June of this year, so that we can now take advantage of the same healthcare and tax benefits that heterosexual couples do.
Although we recognize these benefits are not yet recognized in any other State in the USA besides Massachussets, nor any of the Federal benefits – we are proud and happy that we are on the leading edge of change in this country where same-sex couples can enjoy the same rights as any other married couple. We have been able to see dramatic changes in how society views us over the past 26 years since we both came out to our families and close friends.
One small example was that we left the State of Utah in early 1989, less than a year after we first became partners, because we realized that the laws of the State gave employers the right to terminate employment if it was discovered that a person was openly gay. We are blessed that since coming to the State of California, we have been able to be open with almost everyone without the prejudice we felt in Utah.
We are blessed to have been born to our families in Utah. Although there was some concern and confusion when we first came out to our families, they soon accepted that we were “normal” human beings, just a different attraction than the majority of people – and they have shown nothing but love and acceptance to us since we proclaimed our sexuality.
Having both been active in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons), and having served on missions (Jim to Brazil, and me to South Texas), we had a difficult time coming to terms with how we felt, and how the Church taught the “sin” of being gay. For almost 17 years in California, we believed we had been excommunicated from the Church because we had both been summoned to a high council court for being openly gay, but we discovered from the Bishop and home teachers, here in Napa, that we are still on the records of the Church. So, we get periodic visits from the home teachers, and the missionaries – where we have had some candid conversations about how our beliefs have evolved. They seem to always be loving and friendly even though they disagree with us.
There is a lot more to write about on this subject, but that will be for another time. For now, I want to say that I still feel the same way I did when Jim and I first met (and Jim has said the same to me about how he feels), that we simply can’t imagine life without each other. We’re happy and grateful for being able to share our lives together.
You can view the pictures from our wedding and reception by clicking the photo:
May every couple in this world have the same love and blessings we have had as a couple together for the past 20 years! Thanks to our neighbors for organizing an intimate reception and celebration for our wedding, and for the attendance of our neighbors and local friends!
We had decided that since we were unable to secure a venue to make this a big event, we would simply have a small ceremony in our back yard to complete the formality, and would celebrate later. It turns out that at our last neighborhood “Martini Friday”, a few of the neighbors felt that we should have more than a “non-event”, so they took charge of organizing a pot-luck celebration after the wedding at the last minute.
Thanks to Judy for performing the wedding, Kim for being our “Best Woman”, and Anton for being our “Best Man”. Thanks to Melinda, Diane and Paula for taking charge of getting the neighborhood involved in our special day. Thanks to Kim for tending bar and helping with all the clean-up, and to Anton and Cherie for being spontaneous photographers! Thanks to ALL who attended and made this “non-event” a special occasion for us to cherish forever!