"We Do Too!", Florida Couples Get Married and Share Their Experiences

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Jen Keenan & Daniele Garson

Daniele and I met nearly 7 years ago, and we quickly knew we wanted to be together forever. In these short years, our commitment to each other has strengthened; we have each grown to be better versions of ourselves, becoming a better team together; our love for one another has evolved into a deep, rich nectar that we nurture; we have learned to cherish each other unconditionally, and to honor each other, even in anger. We have lived every day upholding the vows that we cannot legally make in our home state, and so we decided to go to New York so that we could promise each other that we will continue to love, nurture, cherish and honor each other for the rest of our lives. We may not receive the same benefits as legally married couples, but Florida's law cannot stop us from keeping the promise we have made to each other.

Kerri and Pamela Olah-Brennan

The most beautiful day of our lives. It was a fairy tale come true. Married on the top of the Rockefeller Center in NYC and we truly were on top of the world . Being native New Yorkers it was easy to pick our home state to marry us LEGALLY only to come "home" to our state of Florida and have nothing matter .... Our names were legally changed on our wedding cert and Florida has an amendment against recognizing our wedding cert. We have spent hundreds to change our names in Florida .. Feel like 2nd class . We need equality!

Kevin R. Murdoch & Drew E. Miller

Plain and simple, marriage means commitment. We celebrated our marriage by getting married in Lockport, NY on 2-11-12. We celebrated our commitment on the beaches of Kauai in 2009. Our officiant’s explanation of the word ‘Aloha’ spoke volumes to us. ‘Alo’ means sharing in the present; ‘oha’ means joy, and ‘ha’ means life energy or breath. The photo represents our ‘3rd eye connection’ and the exchange of our breath. Our commitment means Aloha or ‘joyfully sharing life.’ Whether legal in Florida or not, we will continue in our commitment joyfully sharing our life with each other and our loved ones.

Dennis Godfrey & Steve DeJong

To finally be able to formalize our relationship and call it a marriage by law was the sum total of ten years of building our life together in every way. Having met in New York, we decided to move to Florida to open a business together known as "Humpy's Pizza" in Wilton Manors, Florida. In our hearts and in our mind we were psychologically and emotionally married to each other after mere months after we met in 2000. However, after the final exclamation point on our relationship, our wedding, we had to return to a state in which we were building our business and our life which was Florida-- contributing to its economy and growth and it saddened us terribly to know all the love and acceptance we experienced in a state that recognized and embraced us as equals, we were still very much second class citizens in our new home. I FIRMLY believe the tides are changing. And, it is JUST a matter of time. But, each of us must rise and be counted as one who believes DOMA has no place in a society that says it stands for true justice and real liberty for all.

Shmetrice & Brooke

We met in Fort Lauderdale, got married in New York and had a formal ceremony in Cancun, Mexico. Our marriage coincides on the same date that Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was repealed. Although, we are not in the military the significance still resonates with us. Do Ask, Do Tell! We are more than partners: we have made a legal, social and spiritual commitment to honor each other even when not honored by others.

MJ & Marty

Our children encouraged us to get married after 17 years of being together. Walking into the marriage license bureau like any straight couple was exhilarating. We stood under the same chupah our children used, surrounded by those friends and family who could afford to travel to share our joy. The only sorrow was that other folks we love could not come because of the distance. Coming home to Florida married, was bitter-sweet---to be legally married one place, but not another. We look forward to the day that everyone who loves and is committed, has marriage equality.

Pier Guidugli & Tom Fillmore

As a gay man the choice to marry or not should be made available to me. I do not believe in the institution of marriage per se, but when a political party, a Church made up of a bunch of old men and pedophiles sitting in the Vatican, or my own Government, tell me I am banned from one of their institutions that's when I want to join it, even though they do not have the power or moral standing to arbitrarily determine what is the union of two souls. And so, because of this, my partner and I had our own "marriage" ceremony in front of our friends and families. It is not legally recognized by the State of Florida nor by "this great country of ours" or by a religious denomination, but we gave power of attorneys to one another and we are legally each other's health surrogates. No matter what the law says I will not accept to be a second class citizen because of my sexual orientation nor, most certainly, will I ever apologize for the urgings of my heart.

Andrea Presberg and Jackie Miller

This year we are celebrating our 30th anniversary. Twenty years ago we were married in Washington DC, on April 24, 1993 as part of a mass wedding in front of the IRS as part of the March on Washington. It was a combination of political protest and spiritual marriage. It was beautiful, moving and inspirational to be surrounded by 6,000 lesbian and gay couples saying our vows together. But it did NOT give us our rights. We considered getting married in NY, however it will not give us our rights in Florida. So we wait, spiritually married, looking forward to the day we have our full equal rights.

Mr. and Mr. Jonathan & Dwayne D. Beebe-Franqui

We believe getting married is the ultimate act of love. It means uniting our life, our children, our friends and our families together and showing the community the power of commitment. Marriage provides strength and stability in our relationship, companionship for life and strengthens our own personal values.

We we’re legally married on January 1st 2013, just after midnight in the first few moments of legal same-sex marriage in Maryland. Unfortunately, our family and friends could not be present. We traveled 1000 miles to get our marriage license in Maryland. We wanted our marriage to be real with legal authority when we have our big wedding ceremony in Pensacola on March 30th in Florida with our family and friends present. We will be the 1st same-sex couple to hold their wedding ceremony in one of the oldest churches in Florida, Old Christ Church.

It is extremely disheartening that Florida does not recognize equality for gays, lesbians, transgendered and bisexuals, and their relationships, as equal to others. Harvey Milk once said “You Gotta Give’em Hope” and our hope is that young gays and lesbians will see our picture and hear our story and say....”they give me Hope for the future.” Hopefully, we can make a difference!

Steven Guyer & Robert Kuhn                         

We met in Manhattan on Valentine’s Day and fell in love transitioning to full-time lives in Florida. The morning marriage became legalized in the state of New York; I awoke to individual signs coming down stairs reading “Will You Marry Me”. It was a day that neither of us thought we would ever live to see. So our “7-Year Hitch” became official as the first gay couple to be married at City Hall in New York City on Valentine’s Day. But it became REAL when 120 friends and family came to Fort Lauderdale for a weekend celebration of unconditional love.

 


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