Celebrating our first wedding anniversary after 31 years

One year ago, on May 18th, 2013, I married my best friend and the love of my life. It was one of the most spectacular days of my life. Even the cloudy skies and rain couldn’t dampen a day we had been planning for years.

Teresa and I have talked about getting married for years, but we never dreamed we would have the opportunity to marry in our adopted home state of Maryland. Yet on November 6, 2012, Maryland voters approved a marriage law that had been passed by the state’s legislature.

After years of advocating for the freedom to marry, we could finally join the thousands of couples who had married in other states. Soon after Election Day, on the drive back from dropping one of our sons off to college, we stopped at the County Court House to pick up our marriage license. We held our breaths with anticipation as we walked in and up to the counter – still doubting that this could actually happen. It was absolutely remarkable to walk out of the building moments later holding a marriage license with our names on it. It was a breathtaking moment for two "old" women who had been in a loving and committed relationship for almost 30 years.

With our license in hand, we moved on to planning our wedding, carefully choosing details that would perfectly reflect our 30 years together and the family we created. We picked a gorgeous venue – a historic house overlooking the Patuxent River; a colorful bird house theme and beautiful flowers – to encompass our love of architecture, nature and the home we built together; the food – to reflect our Southern and Jewish roots (yes, you can have grits and lox); purchased two white dresses (our first time to ever be in a bridal store); and had a customed made Chuppah built in a triangular shape so each of our 3 amazing kids could stand at a corner with us.

We picked songs going back over the 30 years we’ve been together. We wrote our vows (crying the entire time). And we included in ever part of the ceremony family. But at our age, it wasn’t our parents. It was our friends, siblings and our kids. In the end, the ceremony and reception were perfect and a wonderful celebration of our life together, our family, and our future as wife and wife.

Since our wedding, we have enormously enjoyed calling each other wife and wife. We have rested easier knowing that we have legal protections previously denied us. We have filed our first joint tax forms. Our memories and photos are a constant reminder of how magical the day was.

We are not alone in celebrating marriage. In the year since we got married, thousands of other gay couples across the country have also had the privilege of getting married. In our first year of marriage, the freedom to marry was won in six more states and the Supreme Court overturned a critical part of DOMA allowing the federal government to respect legally performed marriages. There are more 70 marriage cases pending in 31 states/territories and polling numbers now show a strong majority of Americans supporting the freedom to marry. It’s been a truly remarkable time and year.

As we move into our second year of married life (and 32nd year together), I wish much love to my wonderful bride and I hope that all loving couples across the country will some day soon have the opportunity to walk down the aisle and proudly and publicly say, “I do!”