Wednesday, February 08, 2006

To Get You Ready for Valentine's Day

I'm a sucker for these stories. Their sweetness outweighs the sad parts. From The Advocate:

...During the latter part of their 50 years together in California, Bill Swenor and Marvin Burrows were often asked why they’d never had a commitment ceremony. Swenor would cite the number of years they had been a couple and muse over whether that hadn’t been commitment enough.

But when gay couples started getting married in San Francisco, Bill proposed to his high school sweetheart, and the two were among those married in that memorable February of 2004.

“The impact of saying those words out loud brought tears to our eyes,” Burrows said. “It did change the dynamics of our relationship. It seemed to give us a measure of acceptance in the community and made us proud. Bill really felt great about being able to do something so personal yet political in one action.”

Swenor passed away from an apparent heart attack in his sleep in March 2005, his marriage to Burrows already having been voided by the courts. Burrows has since been denied access to Swenor’s pension benefits. Burrows celebrated New Year’s Eve with a few male friends before going home a bit early—alone. He knows his grieving process will take time.

Long devoted to numerous gay rights and civil rights organizations, including the local group Lavender Seniors of the East Bay, Burrows vows to continue to do all he can to fight for equal marriage rights.

“We always felt we were just like anyone else,” Burrows says. “Married, committed, and in love.”


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