As spring approaches many Utah couples will begin to hear wedding bells chime. Since it’s not legally binding in Utah, many couples choose to go elsewhere to tie the knot or hold a ceremony in Utah. We asked our readers to submit their wedding and commitment stories to show that love knows no color, creed or gender.
Chad and Shaun
On June 17, 2006, I married my best friend and partner for life.
Shaun and I had been friends for close to four years prior to dating. Even though we both felt an undeniable spark and connection between us, we continued to be friends and support each other throughout an array of meaningless relationships and life’s ups and downs and ins and outs.
In June of 2003 we had our first kiss. It wasn’t the butterflies or fireworks I imagined, I didn’t get weak in the knees, or shy away like a giddy little school girl. I didn’t get that flighty, excited feeling that I thought I would. My body temperature didn’t rise, my heartbeat didn’t fasten. I didn’t get these things, because I realized those things had been there all along. I got butterflies every time he called me to go get coffee just to talk about the week. I saw fireworks every time he gave me a hug hello or goodbye. I got weak in the knees every time brought me treats and surprises when I was feeling down, or sick. I didn’t get those feelings because this time, it felt different than any other first kiss I had ever had. This time, it felt real. It felt right. And for the first time in my life, I knew who I was to spend the rest of my life with — my best friend.
We had our ups and downs, just like every other couple; no relationship is perfect, right? But we knew that we wanted to spend our lives together and eventually share our love in some sort of ceremony barefoot on a beach. We shared dreams about marriage, kids and our futures together. But like many things in life, it felt like a dream — something unattainable and lofty. We didn’t have much money. We were both working mediocre jobs, at best, just trying to get by. Oftentimes, we barely had enough money to buy groceries or pay the bills.
Three years after we started dating, he surprised me on Christmas with a plan to fly to Maui to be married. We scraped by, budgeted and went without many things for a long while to try and make this goal happen. We hired a (very inexpensive, but fantastic) clergyman, reserved our tickets and a room, and with two of our very best friends we took off to Maui.
We didn’t have anything elaborate for our ceremony. No photographer, just a digital camera and a handheld camcorder from the 90s. We bought a bottle of champagne and some plastic flutes for after the ceremony (which ended up baking in the sun while it sat on the sand during our ceremony. Have you ever tried drinking hot champagne?) No cake, no flowers, no hoopla. But we didn’t need those things. We had everything we ever wanted right then and there, barefoot on the beach, looking into each other’s eyes.
It has been 10 years since our first kiss, and eight years since our commitment ceremony, and I am as in love with him today as I was then. He amazes me every day with his love, compassion, support and unfailing strength. He is my rock, my soul, my other half. He is my best friend.
Always has, and always will be.
Jeremy and Mikey
By 2002 I had spent the last two years going on an endless string of bad dates. Eighty percent of the time, within three minutes of the beginning of the date I realized I had no interest in the person I had just met. Twenty percent of the time I was extremely excited to be with the person I had just met. That is, until I tried to set up the second date and found out I was part of his 80 percent. Prior to hitting the dating market I was in rehab for a crystal meth addiction. I spent 13 months trying to put my life back together. I know, how sexy would that have been to hear on a first date?
“Hi! Not but a few years ago I was a homeless meth addict – but even though the odds are that I will always be at risk of being a loser again, I think you should take a chance on me!”
Regardless, I actually had many things back on track – I was in school working on my bachelor’s degree, I had a job, and damn it, I was 23, hot and looking for love.
I was terrified of bars and clubs. I had spent so much time getting high in my old life while at those bars and clubs. People asked, “Where do you look for guys?” After I said I met men online, the guffaws were not far behind.
People would always tell me, “No wonder you keep ending up in bad dates!” But where was a guy who was scared of bars and clubs supposed to go to meet guys? I just didn’t know. Online was the only place I knew!
One day I saw a profile of a cute, blonde, smiling guy named Mikeypoo18. I figured he would be the next in my 20 percent and I had to give it a shot. I sent him a “wink.” Winks were safe – if they never winked back, you hadn’t exactly put your heart on the line – it was just to see if there was any interest. A few days later, I got a wink back! We spent about a week emailing back and forth – then another week on messenger. I was so excited to meet him. I asked if we could meet on a particular day. His response? “Uhhhh, I want to – but that’s the American Idol finale…” WHAT? I still tease him about that to this day – he swears the only reason he put it off was because he was having a finale party that was already set up – but it still makes him blush every time I tease him.
After the finale was over, he came and picked me up. We had no idea where to go, so we drove around for an hour trying to decide where to go. After we couldn’t decide on a place, and places were closing down – we decided to go sit on the lawn outside of a Barnes and Noble and just talk. We kept talking and, before we knew it, it was 4 a.m. We set up a second date and I realized ,no matter the percentages, I had just found the only one that mattered.
On Sept. 10, 2002, I was celebrating my third anniversary of sobriety and told him he was required to take me out. We went to dinner and a movie and, on this date, we had our first kiss. I started to joke the next year as I was having my fourth anniversary of sobriety that it was my fourth/first anniversary — four years clean, one year since our relationship was sealed with a kiss. Christmas of 2004, I wanted to keep the anniversaries together, and Christmas morning, I proposed on one knee with a diamond ring that we get married on Sept. 10, 2005. We both cried and hugged and he agreed to be my husband.
On my sixth/third anniversary, we got married at the First Unitarian Church of Salt Lake. Three years later, just before my nine years sober, six years with Mikey and three years of marriage, we had the opportunity to get married during the short window California allowed gay marriage prior to Proposition 8. We went to Los Angeles and got married again. This year we will be celebrating our 14th/11th/eighth/fifth anniversary! In case you lost count, that is 14 years clean, 11 years since we first kissed, eight years since our wedding and five years since we got legally married in California. Someday they will allow adoption here in Utah and both of us are excited to have a child. We’ll have more and more numbers to add on to our ever-growing string of anniversary celebrations.
We have lived in Eagle Mountain for the last six years and nothing is perfect and smooth. We have had rough times and arguments, but we have always stood by each other and worked through everything. We have been through unemployment and tight budgets, but we have never had a lack of love and support. While we have a lot of anniversaries to celebrate, our favorite to remember is our wedding in 2005 – surrounded by friends, and family and a chance to have the dream wedding neither of us thought would ever come. And all the percentages? I found 100 percent of what I want and need in my Mikeypoo.
Megan and Trina
My partner, Trina, and I were lucky enough to squeeze into that narrow window in California when they were allowing gay marriage. We flew to San Francisco and tied the knot. A handful of our family members came; not all were supportive, but it was wonderful to have my three brothers and sister-in-law as well as Trina’s Mom and step-dad there. We stood on the great staircase (seen in Milk) in the San Francisco City Hall and were married.
We have been together 12 years and we were married in 2008. In 2011, the state placed Trina’s niece into our custody (crazy, right?) and we are now moving towards adopting her. Granted, only Trina can adopt legally, but we will draw up the legal paperwork to protect my relationship with our kid as much as possible.
Marriage and adoption, times are a changing.
Russell and Lincoln
My partner, Lincoln, and I have been together for 27 years. In our combined family we have two adult children and two grandsons. All of whom have been very loving and supportive.
Back in 1985, we never thought in our young minds or believed that same sex marriage would ever happen. That was back in the day that you couldn’t even think the word gay. Wow, how times have changed.
Since we never thought it would happen, my partner and I decided to change his name. Not just his first, middle or last, the whole thing. He took the first name of Lincoln, my first name as his middle name and my last name. It was obvious to the judge what our end goal was. When he tapped the gavel on his bench he stated, “Misters Christensen I hope this helps you to achieve your dream.”
That is as legal as we could do it in the state of Deseret.
Danny and Joseph
Joseph and I had been together more than 14 years and had just gotten home from Saturday’s Voyeur 2008. I was sitting at the computer. He walked over, looked at me, and said, “What would you say if I asked you to marry me?”
I said, “I don’t know, ask me.”
He asked me to marry him and I said yes. We started looking for a place to get married. Our anniversary was Dec. 31 and we did not want to get married on a different date. California was our first choice, but since the Proposition 8 vote was approaching, we needed a backup plan. Massachusetts and Canada were possibilities, but neither place was feasible due to some licensing requirements. Connecticut was moving forward with gay marriage and, after doing some investigation, we determined Connecticut was a good second choice. In November, 2008, Prop. 8 passed so we would be headed to Connecticut in December. Neither one of us had ever been there before, so we did some research and decided to get married in Stamford, Connecticut. We found a hotel and selected a Justice of the Peace; all done over in internet. When we went to the Town Clerk’s office to fill out the paper work, we had to laugh at the form. Both applicants were listed as ‘Bride/Groom/Spouse’ (I guess you pick what you want to be). On Dec, 31, 2008, our 15th anniversary together, we went to the Justice of the Peace’s home, dressed in our tuxedos, looking hot. On that day, my partner of 15 years became my husband.