There’s nothing unusual in this, you might think. You’d be mistaken. For the couples in question, not to mention their families, this is a big deal. For this, they’ve been forced to wait an awfully-long time. In some cases, it has taken more than four decades to tie the knot, but tied it is at last. Here at OM®, we couldn’t be more proud.
Proud, that is, to live in a State that, after much heel dragging, has decided to make a stand. Proud that Rhode Island has put people before prejudice and that such basic things as equality, love and fundamental human rights have been allowed to flourish. Proud that same-sex couples are, at long last, able to make a legal commitment to each other. Proud that the bigots in our midst have not been allowed to prevail.
Marriage equality, gay marriage, call it what you like, it’s here, with Rhode Island and Minnesota having become the 12th and 13th States to make it legal. Tomorrow, at Point Judith, RI, Royce Kilbourn and Karl Staatz are scheduled to become the latest couple to have their union endorsed.
‘It’s life changing for us,’ explains Royce. ‘We’ve been together for 21 years and we’ve dreamed of this day. It’s important to us and we’re thrilled’. Karl adds, ‘My heart is pumping and my hands are shaking. It’s exciting’.
Their connection is clear, their love for each other obvious and it’s hard to imagine being together for such a long time whilst being considered – in legal terms, at least – to be doing something illicit. ‘I’m proud of the Rhode Island Legislature for finally passing this,’ says Maria Wall, Cranston City Clerk, who has signed countless same-sex marriage licenses in recent days. ‘I think that our gay brothers and sisters and children should have the same rights as everyone else’. Maria speaks from experience. She has a gay son.
Much credit has to go to Rhode Island State Representative Frank Ferri, who has long spearheaded the fight for equal rights. This time last week, he got his reward when he married his long-time partner Tony Caparco (pictured left) at the Harbor Lights Country Club in Warwick. It was, he says, the first of many such ceremonies.
‘The train is out of the station,’ he says. ‘It’s going and it’s not stopping and it’s not going back. We’ve seen it here in New England and we know how people are opening their minds, because so many couples like ourselves are living their lives openly and honestly every day’. Frank and Tony have been partners for 32 years. Their commitment to each other cannot be questioned.
Of course, there were protests and prejudice. Of course, there was hatred and enmity, but such things didn’t last long, those in favor far outweighing those against. The tide is turning, attitudes changing, love coming to the fore. Deep down, that’s what it’s all about: love. The thing that Zachary Marcus and Gary McDowell, the first same-sex couple to be married in Providence, have in abundance. The thing that has kept Federico Santi and John Gacher together for 41 years. The thing that prompted Adrianne Gordon, Jen Harris and their two-year-old daughter, August, to travel to Rhode Island from their home in North Carolina, where same-sex marriage is still prohibited.
‘We’ve been together [for] so long’, says Adrianne. ‘Our lives are so intertwined’. This simple sentiment struck quite a chord here in our studio . . .
You see, this is what we’re about here at OM®. This is what we stand for. It’s not about men and women, it’s about people, it’s about humanity, it’s about love. It’s about lives intertwined and it’s about connection and it’s something to celebrate, make no doubt about it.
Here at OM®, we’d like to send our best wishes to EVERYONE involved and congratulate all the happy couples out there. For Rhode Island, for humanity, these are exciting times indeed . . .