Amanda Hilty and Loraine Allen: Participants in the WE DO Campaign who are requesting a marriage license at 12 PM on Monday, October 3, 2011.
Our journey together began over a cup of coffee, biscuits and gravy. I don’t know why, but I can still remember what Loraine had for breakfast that morning. I don’t have a clue as to what I ate or what I was wearing, but I remember the green jacket she wore and the faint scent of her perfume that somehow managed to outlast her previous ten-hour shift at a local restaurant where we both worked third. She had asked me to breakfast the night before and I told her I’d be back to pick her up around seven. Although we met through mutual friends, Loraine and I had become very close in working together during the prior year.
I’m not sure what I expected that morning. She had said she wanted to talk to me about something. However, by the time we headed back to the car, I knew our relationship was going to the next level. Months later on she told me she knew then that she loved me, but was afraid saying so would scare me. She says she knew from the minute she first met me that I would be someone very important in her life. I wonder if she knew how important she would become in mine.
Loraine’s love for me resulted in an internal struggle between what she had been taught and what she felt. Before she asked me out, she had some soul searching to do when she realized her love for another woman. She prayed and sought God and came to understand that God IS Love. He gave her a heart for loving and she didn’t choose with whom she fell in love.
We kept our relationship quiet for a while. But, before long the glow of love was shining all around us revealing our feelings to everyone we knew. I asked her to share the rest of her life with me. We exchanged vows and placed rings upon the others finger in May of 2000. The day was beautiful. Even though rain poured down all morning, blue skies prevailed by that afternoon allowing a perfect outdoor ceremony. As happy as we were, in the back of both our minds we wished that our union could be legal and recognized by all.
Throughout our life together we’ve had many wonderful moments and blessings. We enjoy spending time with friends and family, gardening, fishing, and taking day trips. We support and encourage the other in all aspects. Of course, we have also encountered many bumps and potholes in the road we travel. The right to marry should not be a roadblock in our path. It’s been 11 ½ years since we said “I do” . Sometimes it feels as though it’s been forever (in a good way), other times it hard to believe it’s been that long.
We watched children grow up and have babies of their own. We lost loved ones. We’ve grown in our careers and bought our first home together. Some of our loved ones have open arms for us while others won’t accept us at all. Some still think it’s “just a phase”. I would’ve thought by now, that they realize that our love is real, strong, enduring, and true.
Many people have said that if we consider ourselves married then that is what counts, but they fail to realize that the responsibilities one proudly assumes when marrying another is also a law given right that we, as a same sex couple, are not granted. It is for these rights that we fight. People, ideas and government won’t change unless we stand together and show them that all people are in fact created equal and deserving of all the same rights.
Loraine and I have decided it’s time to step up. We will no longer sit idly by, afraid of the consequences. Afraid of losing those we love who don’t approve. Afraid of more hurt, more rejection. But there is a greater fear in spending life wondering “what if” and saying “I should have”. Maybe we can’t fight alone, and we certainly can’t expect others to fight our battle for us, but together equality will prevail. We are proud of who we are, as individuals, as a couple. We are not ashamed, nor embarrassed . Our love is as true as any “traditional” couple, and we look forward to the day our state and country consider us Mrs. And Mrs.