HRC Blog

Shane Bitney Opens Up About Why He Made a Video for Tom Bridegroom

Post submitted by Shane Bitney, whose video tribute to Tom Bridegroom went viral last month.

On May 7th, 2011, Tom Bridegroom, the love of my life, accidentally fell off a roof while taking photographs of our best friend.  We never imagined that we would lose one another.  We were only in our twenties.  I also could never have imagined the series of events that took place after Tom passed away.  This May, on the anniversary of his death, I posted a video on YouTube, as not only a way of honoring Tom, but as a cautionary tale about what can happen when people are denied their human rights.
At the time of his death, Tom and I had been in a committed relationship for almost six years.  Together, we bought a home, started a business and traveled the world.  If the law had allowed, we would certainly have been married.  This was our dream, but because we were not legally able to do so, I had no say in honoring Tom’s final wishes. When he passed away, I lost my best friend and my soulmate. The pain I felt and still struggle with is almost unbearable. Tom’s family did everything they could to keep me from saying goodbye to the person I loved most in this world and the law was on their side.
Losing someone you love is hard enough.  No one should have to suffer rejection and even more misery on top of that. In sharing my story, I am hopeful that someday all loving and committed couples will be allowed to take care of and be responsible for each other.  Legal marriage is the only way to ensure that this happens in life, as well as death.
Since sharing my story on YouTube, I’ve heard from over forty thousand people, assuring me that I am not alone. Some have related similar experiences after losing their loved ones. Some are straight allies who wanted me to know, “Marriage equality just got a new supporter!”  My favorite was this: “If they are going to outlaw love, then let’s all be outlaws in love!”  It has all been very encouraging.  And with recent polls indicating that opposition to marriage equality at a record low, it seems clear that the tide is shifting.  But there is still much work to be done.
People think of this as a political or social issue, but I believe this is a human issue. For those out there who do not think they know someone who’s been deeply hurt by laws that prevent people from marrying the ones they love? Well, now you do.

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