By Kevin OKeeffe
Originally published on Advocate.com January 14 2014 1:21 PM ET
All Essie Florke, the youngest daughter of New York congressman Sean Patrick Maloney, wanted from Santa this year were Legos, two Nerf guns, and some toy cars. Oh, and for her fathers to finally get married after 21 years of partnership.
Essie got her wish when Maloney's partner, Randy Florke, proposed on Christmas morning.
The couple, who spoke to BuzzFeed Monday, had reportedly previously vowed not to tie the knot until marriage equality was established at a national level. When the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a crucial section of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act last summer, the couple discussed the idea of marrying, but it wasn't until their children made clear how important it was for them that they took the leap.
"In the eyes of young children, it matters that you’re married," Maloney told BuzzFeed. "It means something to them, and so we saw that through their eyes."
Things finally came to a head when Essie, the couple's youngest daughter, asked Santa if he would make the two marry. "They are a loving couple!" she insisted in her letter to St. Nick.
That led Florke to present Maloney with a secret Christmas gift: a suitcase that came with conditions. "I said, 'I’m giving you a really obvious gift,'" Florke said. "'It’s a suitcase, but it comes with a proposal: I want to know if you will travel with me forever and marry me.'"
Though the two are excited for the impending nuptials, Florke admitted to BuzzFeed that they're feeling some apprehension. "There is a little fear inside, 'Is this going to change our relationship?'" Florke said. "So there is a fear factor of that changing. But outweighing that was the desire to make it happen."
The couple is planning to marry this summer. "Twenty-one years seems to be long enough to wait," Maloney said.