George and Farid Want to Marry in New York

In a new Freedom to Marry video, George Constantinou and Farid Ali Lancheros talk about why they want to marry in New York.

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Jo Rabb and Takia Foskey

Takia and Jo live in Baltimore and have been together for over two years. They had a commitment ceremony in June and are raising two children, a twelve-year-old daughter and a seven-year-old son.

As an employee of the State of Maryland, Jo cannot enroll Takia or the children in the state health plan. The lack of insurance benefits has taken a toll on the family in the past. Treatment for their son's asthma and a 2003 emergency gallbladder operation for Jo both caused tremendous stress that could have been reduced by the benefits that come with marriage.

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Nigel Simon and Alvin Williams

Alvin and Nigel live in Maryland and have been together for six years. They have an adopted 7-year-old son, and are in the process of adopting another 7-year-old boy and his nine-year-old biological sister. They met at a discussion group for black gay men. "It was love at first sight," Alvin says.

"I have long felt as married as anyone who loves and lives with their spouse, raises kids, owns a home, and even drives a minivan," Nigel says. "Although we are a family in every way imaginable — a family with one military veteran and one federal employee — we are not fully protected as a family under the law."

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Gita Deane and Lisa Polyak

Gita, 43, is a learning specialist at Goucher College. Lisa, 44, is an environmental engineer for the U.S. Army Medical Department. They live in Baltimore and have been together for 24 years. They are raising two daughters, ages six and nine.

When the couple met, Gita, a citizen of India, was in the United States on a student visa. When they fell in love and wanted to build a life together, it was apparent immigration laws would force them apart. Had Lisa and Gita been recognized as spouses, they could easily have remained together. Because they couldn't marry, the couple embarked on a years-long odyssey to establish residency for Gita.

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Amorie Robinson and Hattie Alexander-Robinson

Amorie Robinson and Hattie Alexander-Robinson have been together for six years. Amorie is a clinical psychologist and is a therapist for the County juvenile court. She is also a guest lecturer at University of Michigan in women's, multicultural and LGBT studies. Hattie is a licensed practical nurse and works at a rehab facility. She is also a reverend and pastor of New Birth Church in Detroit.

Hattie had surgery in February 2006. In pre-op, before going under, she made clear to her nurses and doctor that she wanted them to inform Amorie of everything, because she would not be lucid enough to remember any instructions. She also made clear that Amorie was waiting for her. The hospital staff disregarded the fact Amorie was there, not even telling her that Hattie's surgery was done. When Hattie was in recovery, a nurse asked her if she had a ride home. That's when Hattie realized no one had followed her wishes to keep Amorie informed.

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Lori and Cin Diné

Michiganders Lori and Cin Diné have been together for 11 years, and their three children are all covered by Lori's medical insurance.

"One of the reasons we would like the ability to get married is to have access to the same benefits that married couples take for granted," says Lori. "Just the overall legitimacy of our family (in the law's eyes) for our kids' sake would be my main reason."

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Delia Meraz and Persephone Gonzalez

Delia Meraz and Persephone Gonzalez, together 10 years, own a house together and spend much of their time doing home improvement and tending to their yard, garden, and avocado tree.

Persephone says, "The common idea is that Latino families reject their gay children, but it is not always that way and doesn't have to be that way." And Delia concurs. "Our moms are always sending salsa recipes over, and they expect the same responsibilities from us as they would from anyone married into the family."

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Jennifer Lin and Jeanne Fong

Jennifer Lin and Jeanne Fong, a real estate appraiser, have been together for 12 1/2 years. For them, fighting for marriage equality is something they do for their family identity. "The more that we are visible, the more we show our community that we are here, we are about love, and we are a committed, loving couple," said Jeanne, who married Jennifer at San Francisco City Hall in 2004.

The couple had to designate a durable power of attorney for health care and death funeral planning. Taken as a whole, marriage law is a social consensus about how to fairly treat two people who voluntarily pledge to care for each other and their children at life's extremes.

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Charles Blackburn and Glen Dehn

Charles 72, is retired after working for 25 years as a fundraiser for institutions in the Baltimore area, including the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Glen, 67, is retired after 31 years of legislative planning and analysis for the U.S. Social Security Administration. They live in Baltimore and have been together for more than 26 years.

Charles and Glen are healthy and active, but Charles says, "We are concerned about being separated in a nursing home. We are so grateful to have each other; we'd hate to be alone as gay seniors. But we fear we might end up alone if we can't protect our relationship."

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Mark McKinney and Steve Lepre

Mark McKinney and Steve Lepre of South Carolina have been together over 14 years. They own their home, pay their taxes, and are active participants in moving their community forward and helping their neighbors.

Regardless of the fact that they have taken responsibility for their partner's well-being, both economically and emotionally, legally their status is, at best, that of a roommate. Denied the freedom to marry, same-sex couples and their kids are deprived of literally thousands of legal and economic protections and responsibilities, as well as the emotional, social, and spiritual meaning that marriage has for many.

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