While there are many ways to show commitment and love, Kacey Frierson and Chwanda Nixon decided to do something more creative than the average couple — an “I Do Marathon” around the country. They completed the task of getting married nine times in eight cities within 10 days last week.
The idea came after their civil union in Illinois, where they were legally recognized as a couple for the first time. While their relationship was legally effective after their civil union, they still hoped that one day they would have an actual wedding in New York City.
“But then I was like, 'If we’re going to New York, those other states are right there, and then we could go to Canada, too! If we drive and take this route, we could hit all these places in a week,'” Frierson said in an interview with Out magazine.
They decided to bring their seven children on this “I Do” marathon. While anyone can be impressed by their creativity and determination, it's worth asking, what might other same-sex couples take away from Frierson and Nixon's experience?
Cathy Sakimura, the family law director and supervising attorney at National Center for Lesbian Rights, thinks that Frierson and Nixon’s example has two levels of meaning. While they showed their commitment to each other through the marathon, it doesn’t really have that much legal significance for them.
“From a legal perspective, when you remarry the same person, it doesn’t have legal impact for you,” Sakimura said. “I think it’s another way for them to express their commitment to each other to the public.”
In one of his articles in Forbes, Daniel Fisher explores what options might same-sex couples have if the Supreme Court strikes down DOMA. Fisher points out that it is unlikely that the Supreme Court will make a decision that creates the “sweeping, nationwide endorsement of same-sex marriage that some gay advocates want.” According to William Eskridge, a Yale Law School professor, same-sex couples with valid marriage licenses will most likely be able to possess the same rights as heterosexual couples in terms of various kinds of benefits and tax issues.
However, Frierson and Nixon’s example can still have a positive impact on other same-sex couples by gradually changing the general public’s view about freedom to marry. While the momentum for freedom to marry is accumulating, Sakimura thinks that the United States still needs to work on answering the question of what kind of specific rights we allow same-sex couples and their families to have. “There is still a lot to be done in terms of sharing stories and working on policy, legislation to provide those protection for family,” she says.
As Nixon said in their interview, their biggest challenge now is to make sure both of them are working so they are able to raise their seven children without difficulty. This battle isn’t just about marriage — it's about the long term welfare of same-sex families.