This story was initially created as part of the Marriage Equality Movement Family Story Quilt which premiered at San Francisco City Hall on National Freedom to Marry Day in February 2007, honoring the historic Winter of Love and the 40th anniversary of the 1967 U.S. Supreme Court Loving vs. Virginia decision. These family stories -- created in 2007 -- now have many updates, babies have been born, many couples have gotten legally married in California in 2008, some have divorced, some have won historic union battles and so much more ... stay tuned for updates!
- 35 years old
- Current Status: Single. "Divorce" in process.
In New Relationship
- Diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis January 2004
- Irish American
- Emeryville, California
My fairy tale started when Karen and I became domestic partners in 2000 and then married one another in 2001 at a ceremony with over 100 of our closest family members and friends. This was long before marriage equality was on the national radar in any serious way. For years, we thought our domestic partnership and commitment ceremony/wedding were enough. We did not yet understand what it felt like to have civic validation for our love and commitment—along with the promise of the over 1,000 federal and state rights attached to marriage.
Then, on that euphoric and historic day—12 February 2004—we became one of the first couples to marry in San Francisco City Hall and we finally began to get it. For over 2 years we educated people nation-wide about how in particular my disability and inability to marry intersected. In particular, we talked about how scary it was to travel and not have any kind of assurance that if I fell ill, Karen would have the ability to see me in the hospital and make critical—potentially life saving—decisions about my health.
In 2005 Karen and I chose to end our relationship and discovered that even though our marriage had been invalidated and we were no longer married—we would have to "divorce" legally as any heterosexual couple would. Confusing as that might be, we discovered that divorce is a privilege just as marriage is and we are thankful to have access to it. Many same sex couples do not have access to divorce and consequently become financially devastated when separating because there is no legal, equitable division of assets and debts in addition to child custody agreements.
Having Multiple Sclerosis as a young woman in the prime of my life is challenging enough without the added daily mental panic caused by marriage discrimination. MS is a completely unpredictable disease—on any day at any time I could become blind, unable to walk, unable to use my brain—either temporarily or permanently.
During the past year, I learned to fall in love with myself and consequently was able to trust again—and love again—but in a whole way I never knew possible. As I turned 35 last June, God brought my beautiful new girlfriend Kas into my life as a way of saying—"way to go kid—love yourself—love your community—you deserve all the 'happily ever after' you can muster in this lifetime—now get out there and make that happen for everyone else who may want it too."
I will keep working to create marriage equality, equality for the differently-abled and equality in general for all people because I don't believe in second-class citizenship, in any form, for anyone. I do still believe in little girl fairy tales—of loving forever and ever—but now my fairy tale includes so much more than before. Love is all you need but what you do (and don't do) with it, is everything.
The exhibit has toured extensively and is now part of an ongoing exhibit called THE LOVING QUILT 2010: A People's Living History - and Herstory - of Marriage Equality & Family Justice Movements
A Project of Marriage Equality USA in collaboration with NUMEROUS creative individuals & community, state and national organizations.
Maya Scott-Chung, MPH is the Creative Director and Curator of THE LOVING QUILT 2010 which was created during 2006-2010 as part of Maya's Masters in Public Health/ Community Health Education Thesis at San Francisco State University.
For exhibit booking and further information contact Maya: firstname.lastname@example.org (510) 381-0876
THE LOVING QUILT Webpage: www.marriageequality.org/quilt