Dianne and Amanda have been together for nearly 25 years. That's a long time with one person, something I hope and pray to have with my husband. They've had the honor of exchanging vows three other times and although to many of you that seems crazy well, this is their story... The bottom line is that marriage or any other legal recognition of partnering for gay people was not available in this country until the state of Vermont instituted a Civil Union for citizens of the state of Vermont on July 1, 2000. It was not a 'marriage' equal to that of heterosexual couples and it only pertained to citizens of Vermont, but it was the legal attempt to deal with the injustice of the situation for gay couples. We went to Vermont and had a ceremony September 2, 2000 which was lovely--but of course only symbolic since we live in Oregon, not Vermont. However, it was very moving to us since we had at that time already been committed to each other and together since 1989. The following June 23, 2001 we had our own 'commitment ceremony' and party here in Eugene with a big gathering of our families and friends. It was fun… but of course, was, like the Vermont ceremony, only symbolic and had no legal standing anywhere. Then in March of 2005, Multnomah County began issuing marriage licenses to gays in a move to admit the injustice of not doing so. On March 5, 2004 we married in Portland with the same legal registration and state sanction accorded to hetersexual couples. However, this license was revoked by the state a while later and thus invalidated. After that, the voters here put an amendment into the Oregon constitution that restricts marriage to 'one man and one woman.' Since that time 13 states have established marriage equality--including Washington. So, we have married now in Washington. We are very happy about it. However, we are still only recognized as married in those 13 states that recognize the right of gay people to the legal and financial protections of marriage. At this time there is a petition being signed here in Oregon to vote on changing the Oregon constitution to make it possible for our marriage to be recognized here.
So, that's the complicated story…. We have now been together for 24 years and are hoping that the voters here in Oregon will do the right thing this fall. I'm sorrier than I can say that the story is so complicated!!!!