Saturday, December 21, 2013

History in the Making.

If you told us yesterday morning that we would be legally married in Utah later that day, we would have laughed and said it to be impossible. I was finishing up some last minute things at work before my break, and Sam was celebrating the holiday with some co-workers. Facebook's newsfeed was blowing up and we both suspected it was all too good to be true and to not believe the hype, despite what everyone was saying. When we arrived home around 3 o'clock, we talked to Taylor because he seemed to know a little more, and we figured we should look into it. After receiving a text from a friend that we should hurry into the clerk's office to apply for a marriage license (thanks Kris), we started looking into that. They wouldn't pick up the phone, so we decided to rush down to the City and County Building, and Taylor decided to join us last minute.

We quickly realized why we couldn't get through on the phone lines. Almost every local news station was there and there was a lesbian couple being interviewed holding up their license! Our hearts began to beat a little faster and we started to shake. We quickly began filling out the application. While standing in line, Jim Dabakis and his future husband were right behind us.

*Sidenote: Sam's wedding ring was stolen just 3 months after we were married, so Sam hasn't had it for the majority of our marriage. I made arrangements with Sam's dad to have it remade and sent to Utah just this last Wednesday, obviously not knowing that this event would take place.

While still in line to sign the papers, I awkwardly pulled out the wedding ring and said, "I was going to wait to give this to you, but…" and slipped it halfway on Sam's finger while getting pushed aside by all the news stations interviewing Jim and being asked by another sweet couple if we could take their picture. Sam had to slip it the rest of the way on, and even though it wasn't the most romantic moment to give her the ring, it was fitting.

After showing our I.D.'s, paying the $40, and signing under "Mr. and Mrs." (they haven't been able to change that yet), we moved downstairs where the crowd continued to grow. After we got the papers, we were told we needed to make it really official by having a licensed marriage officiator perform the technical speech and we needed two witnesses, and signatures and all that. We only had one potential witness with us, so we planned to wait until early January so we could plan a little more.

As we stepped off the elevator to leave, we saw a minister waiting to do free marriages. There were people all around, so anyone could have been our second witness, and as another couple stepped up, we realized we didn't have to wait either. As we were standing there, debating if we really wanted this stranger of a minister to marry us, one of my student's dads came to mind. He had told us he performed marriages, and I immediately started to try and find his number, which was not proving successful. Fate dealt us some luck and literally minutes later, his husband, Manuel, walked through the doors next to us! Shortly after, Kamrin and the kids showed up. We couldn't have planned it any better. The conversation went something like this:

Elise: "Kamrin, can you marry us?"
Kamrin: "Yes, of course!"
Elise: "Like, right now?"

Kamrin grabbed both of our arms and said, "Let's go stand over here by this Christmas tree."
He performed the short and sweet ceremony, and then asked if we had any words. Sam said a few awkward things about how she wished she wasn't wearing her ugly Santa sweater, which made us all laugh, but then she brought it back by telling me how much she loved me. She almost kissed me right then, but then realized we had to wait when Kamrin stopped us. He said those words: "You may now kiss the bride," and we did…while crying. We all hugged, he signed our marriage certificate, we signed, Manuel signed, and Taylor signed. We walked upstairs, turned in our form, and that was it! We were married, officially!


We would have loved to have had all of our loved ones there, but it was so perfect how spontaneously it all happened. The energy and emotions were ridiculously high, and we got to be a part of history. We have been waiting for this day for 8 years, and thought we'd make it legal in Seattle, several months from now. We still can't believe it happened in Utah.

Words can't describe how we felt, but I think our faces say it all. We celebrated with a few friends over dinner, and felt an overwhelming amount of love from calls, texts, and Facebook posts. We are overwhelmed by all the updates and wish we could personally hug every one of you who likes a post or makes a comment. Thank you!!! We know how lucky we are. December 20th, 2013 will be a day to remember.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


The last six months have flown by. Here are a few bullet points to fill you in:
  • Teaching has been incredible, and I'm not kidding when I say I couldn't have a better first year group of students. They make going to work so easy. (My class needs a blog post of their own.)
  • Sam is in an interesting place, working two jobs part time and going to school. She's hanging in there and still making me laugh. I'm one lucky woman.
  • Sam and I still really want a baby and are still planning on moving come summer so we can make it happen.
  • We are really anxious for this semester to be over and to have a winter break. (One more semester until Sam, Mckenna, and I graduate!)
  • We are currently looking for a new roommate, because Taylor is moving to Africa in 57 days! 
If anyone knows anything about my relationship with Taylor, you're probably worried about my well being once he leaves. (Trust me I am too.) I can't begin to put into words how much he means to me, nor do I want to because I don't want it to go to his head in case he reads this. I am so proud of him though. I have looked up to him so much over the years. He influenced me to go back to college, and with his put downs and negative comments, encouraged me to graduate and become a teacher. He had accomplished so much and once I thought he couldn't go any further, he joined the Peace Corps and is going to Africa. I feel lucky to know him and as much as my heart breaks at the thought of him leaving, no one could be more excited for him. Go kick some ass Taylor Horn and don't forget about me. Your Chucka.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Careers and School and Babies, Oh My!

Well, reality is setting back in after a nice summer with nothin' but my summer camp job, which I always LOVE. Now it's back to school and I'm trying to find a second job to pay dem bills. My wifey has started her career as a Functional Academics teacher and is a natural at it. I had the pleasure of going to her class for a day, and fell in love with her students. She impressed me, as I knew she would, and it made me excited for the possibility of having my own classroom one day. It's crazy to think that we met eight years ago, in college, both thinking we were going to become ASL Interpreters, and how much our career choices have changed since we met. Now Elise is finally set in a career and already into her Masters program. I'm so proud of her, and hope she's proud of herself. Maybe one of these days I'll actually finish this money-sucking, bottomless pit called college, and dive into a career of my own; and not let fear or stress talk me out of it. I tend to take quite a while to make big decisions. Not my favorite thing about myself.
On another note, we are beyond baby hungry. I feel like Tina Fey in "Baby Mama," whenever she sees a family with a baby. Sometimes Elise and I will stop in the baby clothes section at Target or the mall and just pick out outfits for our future babies.

We have seriously almost justified buying outfits for our nonexistent child several times. We both leave almost crying every time. Unfortunately, we cannot adopt here in Utah because we are a couple. A single, gay adult can adopt here, but not if you have a partner. Seems weird to me. I guess people find ways around it and do it here, but I want to get my children in an honest way so I don't break out into a guilt-ridden sweat every time I preach to them about honesty. Adoption costs a fortune though, and I'm just crossing my fingers that Elise's new teaching career will make us millions (because everybody knows teachers do it for the pay) and we'll be able to adopt 72 children in need of love. Cuz we have a lot to give.
Anyway, until then, school and work will have to suffice. Ugh. I miss my family members who are out of state. And I miss Elise's sister and her family in Hawaii. Why can't families just travel in packs forever?
Here's to babies. And family. (I raised my invisible mug, as if to "cheers" anybody bored enough to read this.)

Thursday, August 8, 2013

"Mutually Committed"

Today, we are one step closer! Closer to what, you might ask. Well...equality? Having the rights we and so many others deserve by being contributing members of society? Yeah, all of that.
We walked into the Salt Lake County Building and had a woman come over and immediately tell us in a worn out voice that Passport time was over. We didn't even skip a beat (for whatever reason) and just said we weren't there for that. "Then what did you need?" she asked. "Mutual...Commitment...registry?" we responded, not exactly knowing what to call it, since it seems it's no longer called "Domestic Partnership." "Oh, ok. I need to see your IDs, proof of mutual ownership of a vehicle, proof of a joint bank account, and proof that you share the same residence." BLAM. We set all those things down on the counter. We meant business. We were determined to NOT be sent away for not having something, like what always seems to happen at the DMV, no matter how many times you check the list for what to bring.
The woman didn't seem to know what she was doing, so I assumed she was new, but then her co-worker walked by and said, "Is this your first one? I did the third one earlier today!" The lady wasn't new, it was just that no one had done the process enough to have it go smoothly! We were couple number FOUR. Pioneers indeed. Only the fourth same-sex couple to receive a County-stamped piece of paper that said we could share in each other's work benefits, in all of Salt Lake County. Crazy.
This may not come close to the benefits we'll have when we can finally legally marry, but we're grateful for this small step forward. Yahoo for progression!

Friday, May 3, 2013

My Wife, the Outstanding Senior!

A few weeks ago, I got to help celebrate my wife being awarded Outstanding Senior for the College of Education at the University of Utah. Today, I got to watch her graduate and even give a speech, which she lost sleep over, but did so well on! I sat in that crowded auditorium a very, VERY proud wife. I am so proud of you and all your hard work, Weese. You've worked diligently and put so much effort into every aspect of your education and job. I couldn't be more proud to be affiliated with you. You are wonderful at everything you do, even if you don't see it that way. You're an excellent student, employee, friend, daughter, sister, wife, and every other role. I love you, babe. Congratulations on graduating with such honors, and also for getting into the Master's Program! One chapter is over (almost officially) and we have many more exciting ones to come! Here's to your future classroom, and only a little longer of sleepless nights, tests, and editing papers. You're almost totally done! And I'll be with you every stressful step of the way. I love you, love you, love you. Always.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


As most of you probably already knew, earlier this week we learned that SB262 (work place and housing discrimination bill) didn't pass. There is no question how I feel about the matter so I'm trying to approach it how the LGBT community handled it today at the rally. The speakers were so hopeful and respectful. Although the progression is slow and I get impatient with people and their ignorance we are moving forward. I am excited for the future and the changes that are going to happen. As stated today at the rally, the right thing always happens, it just sometimes takes time. And before I share one of my favorite songs I must give a shout out to my landlord who didn't hesitate in letting lesbians pay him rent. Money is money.

Watch this and listen to every word.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Modern Pioneers

   I'm sitting here, avoiding homework, as I too often do. I decided to re-watch the video of my wedding day, which brought unexpected tears within the first ten seconds. I remember it perfectly -- the gorgeous sunny day, our friends and family gathered in one spot, all there to show us love and support. How amazing every single moment of that day was.
   We had the privilege of having Carol Lynn Pearson conduct our wedding. For those who don't know who she is -- she's an LDS author, poet, and lyricist who is an advocate for gay rights and for bridging the unfortunate gap between the LDS and gay communities. She said many beautiful things during our ceremony, but my favorite line by far was at the end, after our vows. I had mentioned that I wanted to stop fearing how people would react to our holding hands because I knew I had nothing to be ashamed of. She closed with a simple but powerful statement that I had never thought of before: "You are pioneers...on a very important frontier. And there will be less and less fear...of people seeing you holding hands."

   Elise and me? Pioneers? The dictionary defines Pioneer as "a person who is among those who first enter or settle a region, thus opening it for occupation and development by others." I can relate that definition to what she meant by us being pioneers for younger generations (or just other people) who are gay. Many, many gay individuals long before me have paved the way to equality; and although we still have quite a ways to go, we are so much closer because of those driven, brave people. I guess Elise and I really are among those who are paving the way, just by having our ceremony in a state where our commitment isn't legal. We showed that our love means just as much as everyone else's and that we were going to celebrate and honor it even without the state's support. When we planned this wedding, we had no intention of being pioneers; we simply wanted to celebrate our love and relationship with the people we loved. How cool though, to find out that we were a source of inspiration.
   More and more eyes will continue to be opened to the truth and beauty of love between two women or two men. More and more people will see a gay couple holding hands and feel happiness for two people in love, rather than feeling disgust for something different than them. Stereotypes can be broken, judgement can be lessened, and comfort zones can be broadened. All because of pioneers. Pioneers aren't just people with bonnets and covered wagons....they are those who start journeys with the intent of others being allowed to follow to the same ultimate goal. Freedom. Equality. Love.
   I am grateful that Carol Lynn Pearson brought to our attention that my beautiful wife and I are pioneers, because I never would have thought that otherwise. We are. You are.
   Be respectful and kind, but be brave. Push away your own fear of what others will think or how they'll react to "those two girls holding hands," or "those two boys hugging for too long." Get rid of your fear - to in turn erase their fear of us....their fear of different. 
   Thank you to the people in my life who have been open and able to change their views of myself and of other gay people. It means a lot to me to know that you now embrace what you once shunned. I wish that same loving change of view for every person who has experienced or is experiencing a loved one coming out of the closet.
   To my wife -- thank you for helping me break free from many of my own fears; and thank you for sticking with me as I continue to fight against the remaining ones.