Stories of Love ... and Loss

After Prop. 8, protests, and even babies, a handful of the married couples we featured on our October cover update us on their lives while their marriages hang in the balance.   

BY Ross von Metzke

February 12 2009 1:00 AM ET

Robert and Thomas Van Etten

What was your first reaction when you found out
that Proposition 8 passed on Election Day?
Our first reaction was, “How much money
was donated by churches (Mormon Church and American
Family Association)?” There was no way we could
compete with the money raised to pass Prop 8. We were
devastated by how many people worked to oppose us and
how many minority groups voted against us. We were
hurt and deeply saddened.

What has changed the most about your life since
Prop. 8 passed?
What has changed most since the passage of
Proposition 8 in our lives is living with the fear
that a legal contract that we executed with the state
of California might be made null and void by people who do
not know us, do not know our stories and the fact that
many of us have been in long-term, committed
relationships. We have been in ours for 40 years, and
people who have religious beliefs want to control our lives.
We also have a great fear that legislating civil
rights through the ballot box never has been used
before and should not be used this time around. Prop 8
should be considered unconstitutional. If we had put to the
vote civil rights for African-Americans, they would
have lost too.

 

John Manelski and Jordan Brusso

What was your first reaction when you found out
that Proposition 8 passed on Election Day?
I think we were obviously shocked, but beyond
that I was personally hurt. We hoped that somehow the
absentee ballots would swing prop 8 our way. Then we
were angry that the vote was so close. They were expecting
that possibly 5% of votes would vote the wrong way
because of a lack of understanding. We lost by less
than that!

If you took part in any of the Proposition 8
rallies that followed, what stands out to you as the
most memorable experience?
We were in Austin, Texas, for the November 15
rally and joined about 700 Texans! It was good to know
that people all around the country were angry and
voicing that anger.

Would you ever consider moving to another state if
it were to legalize same-sex marriage?
Our daughter and our families are here. We are
needed here to be counted among the intelligent
citizens of California for the next vote on gay
rights.

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