UPDATED June 2014: Since Michael & Glenn shared their story with Freedom to Marry, same-sex couples in Pennsylvania won the freedom to marry when a federal judge ruled in favor of marriage.
When Michael Wascovich and Glenn Crook got engaged while both were still in college, their friends and family members asked if they were sure it was the right thing to do: Were they really in love? Were they ready to make such a big commitment when they were so young? Shouldn't they wait a little longer?
That was in September 2006 - and in the time since the proposal, Michael and Glenn had seven years to consider their loved ones' questions.
Yes, they are really in love - they have supported each other through challenging periods after coming out as gay to their families, who have slowly but surely grown to accept their sexual orientation. Yes, they were ready to make a commitment like marriage, ready to stand before the people they care about and declare their love, commitment and support for each other.
And by the time they were finally able to legally marry, they were able to explain to their loved ones that no, they didn't want to wait any longer; they had been waiting for 7 years.
June 26, 2013 marked the first day that Glenn and Michael could at last be legally married and ensure that it had legal significance: That was the day that the United States Supreme Court struck down the central part of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, clearing the way for legally married same-sex couples to have their marriages respected by the federal government for the first time. Although Glenn and Michael live in York, Pennsylvania, they were able to drive to a state where same-sex couples can marry - Maryland - and get a marriage license.
"We waited to marry for seven years," Glenn explained. "And those seven years of waiting were filled with love, joy, and even rocky roads and typical couple's trials. We have always known that we wanted to get married - it was just a matter of when we could do it."
On June 26, Glenn and Michael knew that their lives could dramatically change depending on what the Supreme Court ruled.
"I will never forget refreshing my phone every two seconds and going between Twitter and Facebook trying to see who had what news first," Glenn said. "When the results came in, I froze. Tears filled my eyes. I grabbed the phone to call Mike. I couldn't even speak clearly."
When they married in the capital city of Annapolis, Maryland on July 12, 2013, a one-hour drive from York, PA, Glenn and Michael were thrilled to be able to at last say "I do." And the federal protections of marriage will impact them immensely over the course of their lives.
But their marriage is not respected in the state of Pennsylvania - and they very often feel the negative impact of that reality.
"It's disheartening to come home and have people question our marriage," Glenn said. "And when we go to Maryland, it's like just crossing that state line makes it feel like we're married. It's weird to live in a state that's surrounded on almost every side with states that do recognize our marriage."
The state's denial of marriage to same-sex couples has tangible, practical ramifications for Glenn and Michael, too.
"It's the little daily things that people don't really think of," Glenn explained. This fall, after marrying Michael, Glenn decided to take Michael's last name. At the federal level, through the Social Security Administration, he didn't have any problems - "it was an easy change."
But when he went to the Department of Motor Vehicles in PA with his new social security card in hopes of having his driver's license changed to reflect the name change, Glenn said he was turned away.
"I was turned away, and the man who saw me told me that my marriage license was worthless," Glenn said. "It was humiliating - and having to go through so many loopholes and incurring so many costs to have my name finally changed is something that heterosexual couples do not have to do in Pennsylvania. The little things like that are devastating - and they're exhausting."
Glenn and Michael are proud Pennsylvanians - they were born and raised in the state, went to college in the state, and now continue to live there. So why, sometimes, do they feel as though their state does not respect their life together?
Michael and Glenn are thankful that they had the opportunity this summer to make good on their 7-year engagement by finally tying the knot. And now they're planning a wedding for October 2015, after Michael graduates from school and Glenn's sister has her own wedding.
They waited for 7 years for the chance to marry. But seven years was already a long time to wait - and they should not have to wait much longer for the freedom to marry in Pennsylvania. They love each other, they are committed to each other, and they are legally married.
"Having our home state of Pennsylvania recognize our marriage and be able to issue marriage licenses to all loving, committed adults would mean that our state thinks and treats us as the equal humans we are," Glenn said. "The state's failure to do so is a blatant violations of our foundations as Americans - and as Pennsylvanians."