Eagerly Awaiting Marriage in Montana

Josh Perkins & Brandon Braaten • Missoula, MT

When Josh Perkins and Brandon Braaten got married in Cancún, Mexico in June, there were only 19 friends and family present. And that’s just how they like it. “It was awesome and beautiful. It was just great to have family and friends there to support us,” Josh remembered. “You couldn’t have asked for a better day and a better ceremony.” The next month, they held a reception at Josh’s family’s ranch in Montana so that more of their family and friends could celebrate their marriage with them.

Josh and Brandon’s lives have always been centered around small, close-knit communities. Although they officially began dating three years ago, they met in 2004 while in college, through the network of only 90 Agriculture Educators in Montana. They both discovered their feelings for each other while at a mutual friend’s wedding, surrounded by the love and support of people close to their hearts. “The rest is history,” Josh laughed.

Despite the rural town they live and work in, Brandon and Josh have never experienced anything other than acceptance from the communities they are a part of. “Brandon and I live in a smaller town, population 80,000, in Montana, and nobody has an issue with us,” Josh said. “We’ve been treated really well.” Brandon works in an especially small school, with just 120 students kindergarten through 12th grade. “Everybody knows and nobody cares,” Josh said of their relationship.

Josh and Brandon have a child from Josh’s previous relationship: a four-year-old son. He has known Brandon for almost his entire life, and is eager for Josh and Brandon to give him a baby brother, Josh laughed. “Nothing is hidden from him. All his parents are on board and are very supportive and answer honestly when he has questions.”

While their close community treats Josh and Brandon with incredible respect, they are hopeful that this will soon be true for the entirety of Montana. As they watched the freedom to marry rapidly spread across other states earlier this week, Josh and Brandon got more and more eager for marriage to be legally respected at home. “It would be super exciting,” Josh said. “I mean, it’s 2014, and it seems really silly that it’s something that is not respected or legal. As far as we’re concerned, we’re already married. He’s my husband.”