This week, New Hampshire celebrated the one-year anniversary of the successful defeat of a legislative bill that would have repealed our state’s marriage law, which passed in 2009.
New Hampshire will forever hold a special place in our hearts: Jenn was born and raised in the state, we both graduated from NH high schools, and Christina attended undergrad at Keene State College. Last year, as we watched hundreds of legislators stand on the right side of history by voting to defeat the bill that would have stripped same-sex couples of their freedom to marry, we were very proud.
We have known each other for over five years (in fact, our ‘official’ five-year anniversary is next week, March 26, the same day that the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the Proposition 8 case), and we cannot wait until May 2014, when we will exchange vows and say “I do” in a state where we have so much history together. By voting against repeal of the marriage law, the NH legislature – including more than 100 Republicans – was supporting couples like us.
Jenn (left), Christina (right)
In the midst of our engagement last summer, we had the opportunity to reflect on all of the memories we have made together so far – from our first real date, where Christina drove miles to pick up Jenn and take her back to her college “prom”; to Jenn’s graduation from Colby College and acceptance into a PhD program at the University of Connecticut; to Christina’s acceptance into the MBA program at the University of Hartford; to welcoming an adorable puppy named Köda into our lives. It has truly been a whirlwind, and we are grateful for every moment we have been able to spend together. Read the entire story from the night of our engagement HERE.
Marriage is important to us for all of the reasons anyone else may want to get married – love, commitment, and family. We have found in each other the person who makes us whole, and the person we want to spend the rest of our lives with. We are excited to continue our journey together by expressing our love through marriage in front of our amazingly supportive family and friends. . By getting married, we’ll be sending the message that we are fully committed to taking care of and supporting each other through all that life has to offer.
We are proud that New Hampshire lawmakers stood up for what they believe in one year ago. Like them, a growing majority of Americans from across the country are completing their own journeys of understanding and affirming the freedom to marry for same-sex couples. The impact is clear: on Election Day, four out of four states passed ballot measures in support of marriage. This year alone, Illinois, Delaware, Rhode Island, and Minnesota have all begun to consider passing freedom to marry bills to ensure protection for all families in their states. We are proud that New Hampshire is one of the states helping to lead the way.
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As the Supreme Court begins hearing oral arguments next week in landmark marriage cases, we’re reminded of how far we’ve come, and we look forward to the day when gay and lesbian people in each and every state can marry the person they love. The court is considering the constitutionality of Proposition 8, which stripped the freedom to marry from same-sex couples in California in 2008; and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which denies legally married same-sex couples more than 1,000 federal protections.
That so many people in long-term, loving relationships are denied the right to say their vows and declare themselves as spouses under the law is disheartening. Seeing same-sex couples across the country win the freedom to marry – and seeing DOMA overturned so that legal marriages can receive the full respect, protections, and security that married different-sex couples enjoy – would give us a renewed sense of belonging and pride.
As opponents of marriage threaten to oust legislators who support same-sex couples’ freedom to marry, we must not forget New Hampshire’s example. Last year’s vote in New Hampshire was the first time that a majority of Republicans stood up for marriage – a milestone in our movement. We truly are the “Live Free or Die” state: Those legislators have not lost their seats because of it, and the sky has not fallen.
We hope that key state lawmakers, federal officials, and the Supreme Court justices do the right thing in 2013 by supporting love, commitment and marriage. We can’t think of a better wedding present than watching more amazing couples finally be able to share in the joys of marriage.
Jenn Corriveau is a PhD student at the University of Connecticut, and Christina Honeycutt is an MBA student and works at the University of Hartford. They will marry on May 24, 2014 in Henniker, NH.