Scroll To Top
Current Issue

How This Couple Met at a Bible Study

How This Couple Met at a Bible Study

Lindsay Stokes Kennedy (left) and MyLin Stokes Kennedy
Lindsay Stokes Kennedy (left) and MyLin Stokes Kennedy

Though they were both seeking to rid their lives of same-sex attractions at church, two women found their soul mates instead.

On a Wednesday evening in October 2009, MyLin Stokes attended her weekly Bible study class carrying the fragile hope of squelching her same-sex desires for good.

At 22, she'd already had a serious girlfriend in high school and a two-year relationship with a woman in college. After the latter love affair came to a difficult end, she sought solace in a close male friendship that turned romantic. "Then I got pregnant," Stokes said, "he proposed, and I accepted." But it wasn't what she truly wanted: "I was doing it for my family more than I was for God. I wanted their acceptance." Her religious parents, especially her father, disapprove of homosexuality. After an eight-month engagement, she ended her impending nuptials and began soul-searching at her mother's church, and that's how she ended up at her pastor's house discussing biblical texts and silently straining to stamp out her attractions to women.

Then Lindsay Kennedy walked into the room. "I was attracted to her, but my initial thought was: She's a young black female I might relate to, a new friend. When she told her story, I was like, Seriously?"

Kennedy's story bore a striking resemblance to Stokes's own. She dated girls through high school and college, but she struggled to reconcile her faith with her sexuality, and her parents couldn't accept her as a lesbian. "I'm first-generation American. My parents are from West Africa," Kennedy said. "For my dad it was absolutely not acceptable."

While in college, Kennedy was heavily involved in a Baptist church and decided amid the pressure of her religious peers and clergy members to resist acting on her attraction to women going forward. "People would tell me, 'If you really wanted to stop and you accepted Jesus as your savior, you could stop.' Because it's not really the feelings that are wrong, it's acting on them. So I said I would stop."

After Kennedy revealed her struggle to the Bible study group, Stokes approached her to swap stories and ask: "How did you get past it?" They exchanged numbers, and a friendship ensued. Together they tried to meet the tricky challenge of denying their feelings for women. But their attempt was met with a force more powerful: their growing love for one another.

"We eventually came to the consensus within ourselves that it's OK to be gay," Kennedy said. "Jesus says, 'Above all, love.' I don't think that God would fault us for a relationship based on pure love and mutual consent."

On December 31, 2014, at 9:00 p.m., MyLin Stokes and Lindsay Kennedy invited 40 friends and family members to their home in Orange County, Calif., to celebrate their marriage.

"At 11:40 p.m., we got into our white dresses," Stokes recalled, "and my brother played the trumpet as I walked down the aisle.

The spouses, who've combined their family names, Stokes Kennedy, tied the knot on New Year's Day at 12:00 a.m., paying homage to self-renewal and new beginnings. "We freestyled our vows," Kennedy said, "and MyLin cried through most of hers."

Noticeably absent were the brides' fathers. "My dad's from a different time. I don't hold his feelings against him," Kennedy said, "but I can't set myself on fire to keep others warm." Their mothers, however, came through. Kennedy's mother paid for some of the ceremonial flourishes and rounded up her sisters to help with the cooking. Stokes's helped pick her dress. "She also walked me down the aisle," Stokes said. Kennedy's brother, Emmett, whom she calls the love of her life, walked her down the aisle. "It was magical," she said.

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories

Steph Fairyington