Post submitted by Scott Bishop, HRC and HRC Foundation Board of Directors
On Wednesday, October 9, my partner Ron and I, along with two other couples, Rev. Ann Marie Alderman and her partner Rev. Robin Tanner and Scott Lindsley and his partner Joey Hewell, faced the indignity of being denied a marriage license in Charlotte, North Carolina.
We were surrounded by friends, family members and supporters who were witnesses to our love but also witnesses to the consequences of an unjust law.
We were denied the opportunity to have our government recognize our relationship and provide us with all the benefits and responsibilities that come with being married.
However, our spirit is not broken. We know that change is coming. We see it every day. Just 24 hours after our action, a New Jersey judge ordered that same-sex couples be allowed to marry as of October 21.
The outcome in Charlotte was not unexpected, though we all remained hopeful. We saw the conflicted looks in the eyes and faces of those who were just doing their jobs in upholding this unjust law.
For me, though, what was unexpected was Ron asking to say a “few” words to the Register of Deeds, a room full of cameras and media representatives and most importantly to me. Ron is not one to speak publicly -- that’s usually my role -- so his words to me and essentially to the world, are words I will always remember.
“I don’t think it’s hard to imagine that every happily married couple remembers the day that they walked up to this counter or a counter like this one to apply for a marriage license. I bet they all remember how they felt and the butterflies that they felt at the time. I want you to know that I feel butterflies too and not for all the reasons you would think but because I get to stand here in front of anyone who will listen and tell them that I want to be with you for the rest of my life. I love you very much.”
We want to thank Scott and Joey and Ann Marie and Robin for their courage in standing with us on this memorable day. We want to thank the friends and supporters who took time out of their work day to witness this unjust event. We especially want to thank and recognize the work of the Campaign for Southern Equality– Jasmine, Lindsey and Aaron – for being with us every step of the way. They are doing amazing work in the south. We look forward to the day that through their work, a courageous individual will decide that it’s time to issue a marriage license to a same sex couple in a southern state.
Lastly, I want to thank the love of my life, Ron for being the man he is, for standing with me in such a public way and for loving me and wanting to spend the rest of our lives together.