The entire country is expecting the Supreme Court to hand down its groundbreaking ruling this week, and it can mean heaven or hell for all same-sex couples in the country.
While freedom to marry is at the center of national attention, we all seem to forget about those heartwarming moments of married gay couples in United States gay marriage history. In case you don’t remember any of them, here’s a rundown of the heartwarming couples in the United States’s same-sex marriage history.
1. Kitty Lambert and Cheryle Rudd
When New York State’s same-sex marriage law became effective on July 24, 2011, there was a huge celebration at the Niagara Falls, with lights of rainbow color lit up around it. Despite being together for more than 11 years, Kitty Lambert and Cheryle Rudd still had the anxiety of newlyweds. As the first marriage after the state’s legalization of same-sex marriage, Lambert and Rudd’s life-long commitment carried blessings from local politicians, gay rights advocates, friends, and family. However, the couple’s relationship had been challenged by multiple obstacles, and the biggest came when Rudd was battling a serious thyroid cancer. Lambert was challenged for her right to visit when a relative refused to let her into the room.
“I slept next to her for how many years now, and you are going to tell me I’m a stranger?” said Lambert in an interview with Huffington Post in 2011.
She was a stranger under the state law back then, but after their ceremony on July 24, 2011, they officially became spouse. After the experience at the hospital, the couple founded their own grassroots advocacy group, OUTspoken for Equality in 2003 and started a lengthy quest for marriage equality. They didn’t have additional support so all the cost for grassroots activities had to come out of their own pocket.
However, their hard work paid off when the couple met with Mark Grisanti, a Republican state Senator, and convinced him to support the legalization of same-sex marriage in New York State. Grisanti proved to be the helpful friend that made Lambert and Rudd’s dream of getting married at Niagara Falls come true.
The couple immediately contacted Paul Dyster, mayor of Niagara Falls, to arrange their wedding ceremony at the renown tourist site. Their marriage had also become the hot topic in the city, and the public had seemed to recognize the fact that the law had changed. People also became more willing to talk about LGBT-related topics.
“All of a sudden people who are gays and lesbians can talk about it,” said Dyster in an interview with Huffington Post. “So we are finding out that there are a lot more people we know who are gays or lesbians than we thought.”
Their ceremony marks the achievement that New York state has made at guaranteeing its same-sex residents the right to marry and enjoy family lives with their loved ones.
2. Corianton Hale and Keith Bacon
Corianton could never forget that night in 2009, when his partner of three years proposed to him with his mom’s ring. However, the couple couldn’t plan their ceremony until summer 2011, when they felt that they couldn’t let law get in their way. The couple decided to set their wedding in the summer of 2012.
“Marriage is about professing your intentions to your community, and sharing the commitment in a meaningful, celebratory way,” said Hale in an interview with Respect for Marriage Coalition. “We wanted to hold out for the real deal.”
The couple was ecstatic when same-sex marriage law passed out of both houses in Washington state and signed into law by the governor in February 2012. Although the law was put up to a public vote by opponents later, Hale and Bacon didn’t let that stop their ceremony. They celebrated on a weekend in August 2012 at the Sleeping Lady Mountain Resort in Leavenworth, Washington.
“It felt like we’ve chosen the right time to get hitched, and that our awesome state was propelling us forward,” said Hale in an interview with Respect for Marriage Coalition. “Our goal was to throw the best, most immersive three-day party ever.”
Months after their wedding, the couple used their wedding photos to gather support for a campaign to protect Washington’s same-sex marriage law on Facebook. On the Presidential Election Night, the couple celebrated President Obama’s victory while feeling anxious about the same-sex marriage ballots result.
“We toasted, danced and celebrated Obama’s victory, but I held out on R-74 for a whole nail-biting day,” Hale said. “When Washington United made the call on their website, I finally exhaled and accepted the good news.”
The couple was able to hold their ceremony on December 9, 2012, one day after their first date six years ago. They also understand the importance for them to marry in Washington state, which many of their counterparts in other states were deprived from.
“We are really proud of our state,” said Bacon to Respect for Marriage Coalition. ”I’m excited that the tide is finally turning away from intolerance.”
3. Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka
Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka's romance has been at the center of media spotlight for quite a while. The couple's relatively high-profile preparation for marriage has stirred quite a lot discussions nationwide. Harris announced his engagement with Burtka back in June 2011, right after New York state legalized same-sex marriage. This announcement broke the star's previous claim that he was not ready to marry his long-time partner.
"We've had rings on our right hands for five years," said Harris in an interview with Andy Cohen in 2011. "We were going to get married in California, but then Prop 8 happened."
While they decided to have their wedding in New York, the definite wedding date was never set in stone. Rumors came in Februery 2013, when National Enquirer spread the false rumor that the couple had called off their wedding and split up. The information was from an "insider" who claimed the couple broke up after a dunken "blow-out."
The claim was later denied by Harris through his Twitter feed. He made it clear that they never set up a wedding date because of Prop 8 but their relationship was smooth and fine. Perhaps another reason why the couple remained strong together is because of the twins, Harper and Gidon, who they surrogated in 2010. The couple had been playing roles as exceptional parents as shown by several media outlets' thorough shadowing of the family. The couple displayed the best image as the ideal same-sex couple family that their counterparts should make as example.
While we are all anxiously waiting, these stories might be able to remind us of the initial purpose behind this fight, fighting for the right that should be equally enjoyed by every human being. The momentum is there, and we just need to keep believing in it.