On May 17, 2004, the state of Massachusetts offered the first official marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Ten years later, to commemorate the momentous occasion, we asked five Boston-area married couples to talk about what they’ve learned about themselves and their relationships over the past decade.
When we opened the inquiry for the project, the response was tremendous. While we weren’t able to respond to each and every submission we received (we wish we could have!), we spoke with a handful of same-sex couples, who not only appear to have the utmost respect for each other, but also exude tremendous amounts of unabashed and unapologetic love.
We asked them to speak on their experiences from married life as they approach the milestone, what it takes to make a relationship last, and of course, how they met and fell in love. Their answers may not surprise you, but hopefully they’ll charm you and remind you that love of every kind — today and every day — is just as valid as any other.
Erin O’Connor and Marcie Walsh of Rockland
Erin and Marcie married on June 12, 2004 with a small ceremony in Gardner after meeting by chance years earlier on AOL. In her initial e-mail to us, Erin wrote: “It’s been an interesting 10 years in dealing with taxes, imputed income, IVF and seeing Marcie adopt our daughter but wouldn’t change any of it because it’s our family story.’’ We asked the young mothers to share the role family plays in their marriage and the unexpected places they’ve found support in the years following.
Michael Borum and Christopher Castellani of Boston
Michael and Chris went to Arlington Town Hall on the morning of May 17, 2004 to obtain their license before tying the knot in Lexington on the 21st. The two have been together for more than 16 years, so we asked them to share their wisdom and offer up their best advice for young couples preparing to take the plunge.
John Wolfarth and Kevin Powers of Boston
John and Kevin are approaching their eighth wedding anniversary, but have been together for a collective 18. Despite the longevity of their relationship, the couple waited two years following the legalization to make it official in the eyes of the law, but they couldn’t be happier that they did. John told us: “To realize all these people are gathering because they love and support you — yeah, they believe in your relationship and want you to be happy and will go to your parties and travel with you, but that night in that moment, they are there for you. And that was transformative.’’ To look back at the journey that brought John and Kevin to the alter, we asked them to share the story of how they first met.
Ailsa Wu and Kate Hermann of Waltham
Ailsa and Kate met at a dance class several years ago, but it wasn’t until a mistaken first date that the two decided to pursue things romantically. We asked the two for advice for young couples during their interview but it wasn’t until later that evening that Ailsa reached out with the following wise words: “Life is too short to spend it lonely and closeted. So don’t be afraid to take a chance — on someone else or on yourself. Kate was my first (and only) lesbian relationship after I came out at age 30, and really my first adult relationship period. Although I knew I didn’t know what the heck I was doing, I really wanted to be with her and was willing to do whatever it took to make things work. It was the best choice I’ve ever made.’’ We asked them to share the story of the day they got married — Spoiler alert: It happened twice!
Peg Preble and Robyn Ochs of Jamaica Plain
Peg and Robyn were the first same-sex couple to apply for marriage in Brookline. In her intial e-mail, Peg wrote us: “We got up at 4 a.m. to be there early as we didn’t trust that [Mitt] Romney wasn’t going to find a way to stop us at the last minute!’’ The two have now been together for 17 years and we asked them to tell us their love story and their hopes for future generations.