My wife, Meghan, and I have been together for almost 5 years now. It’s been an amazing journey so far, and I love spending each and every day with her.
When we met, we were both working at an English Immersion school run by a Christian missionary community in Japan. I went knowing that I was gay, but intending not to date anybody. My intention was to spend a year or two perfecting my Japanese while working with kids, and then return home. Meghan changed those plans. I knew I was falling for her by six weeks into my contract, as I held her hand to help her along a seaside hike. Pretty soon, I knew she was falling for me too.
Meghan grew up in Seattle, in a very conservative Christian family. Being gay was simply not in the cards for her. Throughout her early years, she simply believed that she wanted to be really good friends with girls, and that boys were just icky. When she came to Japan, she prayed that God would not let her be distracted by any boys. I tease her that she was too specific, and that God said “Okay, no boys.” When she realized she was falling for me, she was afraid. Unfortunately for her, since she wears her heart on her sleeve, she only managed to go four days between realizing her feelings and telling me. And for three of those days, I was back in the US at a family wedding.
We struggled through the better part of a year at the school, and I came home early. We continued our relationship long distance, with her visiting me for Christmas. She decided not to renew her contract with the school, since it included a “moral turpitude” clause that we were certain included our relationship (and it did!). Meghan came home after that year of school, and moved back to Seattle to be with her family. We visited each other once a month (super expensive, since I lived in Pennsylvania!) while she was caring for her father, who passed away late that August. In January, Meghan moved to Delaware to be with me.
It was a struggle with family, particularly hers. My parents quickly got used to the idea, and got to know her. My mother, who used to be adamantly against my sexual orientation, is now a huge supporter of marriage rights. She, my dad, my brother, and many of my relatives have welcomed Meghan into our family with open arms. It was a little tougher with her side, but we’re building strong relationships with them too! It’s amazing to watch people grow and change as they learn more about our relationship, and what it really means.
In October of 2011, we had a religious wedding ceremony in my home state of Pennsylvania, surrounded by family and friends. We married through the United Church of Christ and our ceremony was performed by a seminarian who is a dear friend, and the partner of one of Meghan’s mentors from camp. It was as close to a perfect day as I can imagine. As I walked down the aisle, I saw Meghan, and gasped. I told my dad, “I can’t believe I get to marry her!!”
Unfortunately, since Pennsylvania doesn’t allow same sex couples to marry, and the US government doesn’t recognize states that do, this ceremony wasn’t legally binding. Since Jesus is more important to us than any state or national government, we consider this to be our true wedding day. About a year later, in December of 2012, we had a civil union ceremony where we live in Delaware, which was also sweet, silly, and much less formal. We’re hoping that when marriage equality comes, our civil union will just be rolled over into a marriage. We’re also hoping that the federal government will repeal DOMA soon, since a lot of marriage rights are federally based. Either way, nobody needs three weddings, especially when you haven’t been divorced!