STORIES FROM THE HEART / Day 1 -- An Essay by Guest Writer Stuart Wilber


Friends and blog readers,

I have loved the man I live with almost from the first time I set eyes on him in Chicago on December 8, 1977. We held our own ceremony shortly thereafter; we exchanged ancient coins instead of rings – we wear them still. In 1978, John was in the hospital overnight and I lied, saying that I was his brother so that I could visit him. Cook County didn’t recognize domestic partnership until 2003.

In 1988 we moved to San Clemente, California. In 1992 we were the 19th couple to register as domestic partners in Laguna Beach where John worked, 14 miles away. Our relationship was recognized when he was at work or if we went there to swim or for dinner, but not when we were at home.
In 1993 we were married in a mass ceremony by Troy Perry at the March on Washington – that marriage wasn’t legally recognized anywhere. In 2003 we were married in Vancouver, B.C. We remain married when we visit Canada, but it is not recognized when we cross the border. In 2007 we registered as domestic partners in Seattle. That relationship was sanctioned within the city limits, but not when we left town. And our present state-sanctioned partnership is recognized within the state when we leave town and when we travel into some, but not the majority of states.
There are lots of reasons I want to get married, and none of them are because I am gay. I don’t want a gay marriage. I don’t want a different kind of marriage; I want the same kind of marriage as my married neighbors have. I want a marriage with all the rights and privileges and responsibilities that everyone else who is married has. I am told there are 1,138 benefits that federally recognized marriage would bring us, and I would like those, too.
But most of all, I want to marry the man I have loved for almost 34 years – a real marriage legally recognized everywhere we go.
I am sure that deep down, you understand this too.

Note:  Stuart Wilber is a contributing editor at THE NEW CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT (


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