Two years ago,
Krista Nicolls's middle child, Steven, walked into
her bedroom in the family's house in Shawnee, Okla.
The 14-year-old needed to tell her a secret, but the
words would not come out. He began to cry. "I
knew what was coming," says Nicolls, a
down-to-earth cashier at an appliance parts distributor and
mother of a 20-year-old daughter and 15-year-old son.
"I had known since he was about 5. I tried to
lighten up the situation by telling him that I knew he
wasn't smoking or hadn't gotten anyone
pregnant or that he wasn't on drugs."
After a half hour, Steven blurted out,
"Mom, I like boys."
Later on, Steven, whose last name is Cosby, told
his mother that he'd felt he had two choices
that night: come out to her or kill himself.
"I've always told him that all I cared about
was that he was happy," Krista says.
Steven's coming-out seems like an
eternity ago to Krista--a member of the board of
a chapter of Parents, Families, and Friends of
Lesbians and Gays in Norman, Okla.--and her husband,
Lewis, Steven's stepfather, a burly, affable
office manager. They share their story during a PFLAG
potluck dinner at the Unitarian Universalist
Fellowship Hall in Norman, where a folding table is piled
high with fried chicken, casseroles, and desserts. The
room buzzes with the warmth of activists, college
students, and parents of gay children. Everyone is
glad to have found one another. Although Steven dropped out
of high school, he took his GED in January and is
enrolled in a prenursing program. He eventually wants
to move to a place with a warmer climate, he says,
maybe Florida or California, and be a nurse on a gay cruise ship.
"Most of the kids that Steven [now 16]
hangs out with are accepting, and he doesn't
really hang out with anyone whose families are not all
right with someone being gay," says Krista.
"It's not a big deal to the younger kids, even
The blue-collar town of 29,000 is home to three
Christian universities and is not the most diverse
place in the world, she says, adding with a chuckle,
"The only thing I've had to think about
differently is, Does this now mean that it's
all right if he has girls spend the night, but not
boys?" Steven and his new boyfriend, Will, have
been dating since August and gave each other rings for Christmas.
The acceptance that Steven Cosby has found among
his parents and friends is more common in Oklahoma
than gay and lesbian Americans who live outside the
state might think. Jim Roth, an Oklahoma County
commissioner, tells the story of the time he joined an
influential Oklahoma City leader at a country club for
an informal business meeting. Roth and the official
were having a conversation in the men's club room
when the group of men at the next table began telling
antigay jokes. The city official apologized to Roth.
Yet for all the progress, the election of 2004,
in which Oklahoma was one of 11 states that passed a
state constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, has
provided a stark reminder for gay Oklahomans just how
quickly their rights can vanish into thin air. About
66% of voters went for George W. Bush, and 76% favored
the marriage ban. Those same Oklahoma voters also
OK'd state-sponsored gambling by 65%: the
state's first lottery, Krista Nicolls points
out. "I think they're just
hypocrites," she says. "If you're going
to use your Bible to further push your agenda,
it's just wrong."
But rather than feeling divided from many of
their straight neighbors, GLBT Oklahomans and their
loved ones often feel a greater gulf between
themselves and the gays and lesbians on the country's
coasts. The impact of, say, legal same-sex marriage in
Massachusetts or second-parent adoption rights in
California, they fear, may be to rally
Oklahoma's more conservative citizens to turn against
them at the polls and in everyday life. In Oklahoma,
as in many "red states," they're
still fighting simply for protection from losing their
jobs due to their sexuality--and sometimes for their
very existence. "My biggest concern is that these
things are going to give people the idea that
it's all right to start gay-bashing,"
says Krista Nicolls. "I'm really scared
Terry Gatewood, a longtime Oklahoma gay rights
activist, rattles off the antigay laws that the state
legislature has recently pushed through. "They
passed the antigay adoption bill. They passed [a ban on] gay
marriage. I don't know what other antigay measures
that lawmakers could try and do."
Adds Paula Schonauer, Oklahoma's only
transgender police officer, "The Lawrence v.
Texas decision, the Massachusetts marriages, and
the same-sex marriage amendment--all of this stuff
happened boom, boom, boom. Oklahomans are now turned off
about gay people in a way that they weren't
before. The culture here has never been GLBT-friendly,
but over the past two years it has gotten hostile."
Yet these GLBT Oklahomans have no thought of
fleeing their home state. They're sticking
around, taking on extraordinary challenges, reaching
out for allies and one another. Activists from the Cimarron
Alliance Foundation--the state's most
influential gay rights group--are looking at how
to expand beyond metropolitan areas and educate rural
voters on such issues as harassment, workplace fairness,
and legal protections for same-sex couples.
The battles will be hard-fought. Oklahoma
remains the buckle of the country's Bible Belt.
The Southern Baptist Church and the Church of Christ,
both fervently and actively opposed to GLBT equality, are
formidable forces here. In fact, the state's
residents identify themselves as Southern Baptist
almost seven times more often than the average
American, according to the state's historical
society. Some worship centers on the edge of Oklahoma
City are so massive that they resemble shopping
centers reaching toward the vast prairie sky.
Orange juice queen Anita Bryant, who led
infamous antigay movements in the 1970s, was born in
Barnsdall, Okla., in 1940 and was crowned Miss
Oklahoma in 1958. Oklahoma City's daily newspaper,
The Oklahoman, still runs a
"Today's Prayer" feature on its
front page. Last August, during a campaign stop, Oklahoma
Republican congressman Tom Coburn got into hot water
with activists when he told them that
"lesbianism is so rampant in some of the schools in
southeast Oklahoma that they'll only let one girl go
to the bathroom." In January new Oklahoma
County commissioner Brent Rinehart vowed to rescind
the county's new policy that protects gay and
lesbians from discrimination in the workplace.
Yet "one of the things that I find most
interesting about the intolerance in Oklahoma is that
the state has a very proud populist tradition,"
says Oklahoma County commissioner Roth, the
state's first openly gay elected official.
"It's a relatively young
state--not quite a hundred years old. Its
constitution is very thorough and one of the longest in the
nation because it deal with citizen involvement and
the idea that every vote counts."
Oklahoma's long, colorful history is
marked by a Wild West identity that includes the great
land runs, a cattle boom, and oil, the riches from
which continue to flow through neighborhoods of Oklahoma
City where the houses rival anything seen in Beverly
Hills. Yet the majority of the state--one of the
last and least inviting refuges for Native Americans
to be taken by European immigrants--remains rural and
poor. Oklahoma's median household income was only
$35,000, ranking the state 45th in the country, in
last year's annual report by the U.S. Census Bureau.
When Oklahoma became a state in 1907, a mix of
immigrants from Poland, Germany, and Ireland had
already joined the Native Americans, along with
African-Americans who came to the region in the late 19th
century as gunfighters, farmers, and cowboys.
In the early years of the 20th century, Tulsa
was the country's financial and commercial
center for African-Americans, many of whom were
millionaires. The city's Greenwood district was known
as the "Black Wall Street" until a race
riot destroyed the area in 1921.
Remnants of the state's historic pride in
diversity and the Wild West "live and let
live" attitude remains, despite the efforts of
right-wing activists. A poll taken last year by Cimarron
Equality Oklahoma showed that 86% of Oklahoma voters
don't believe that GLBT people should be fired
from jobs because of their sexual orientation.
Oklahoma City residents just formed the city's first
gay and lesbian business association. And for the first time
in history, city leaders, led by the chamber of
commerce, have formed a committee to explore how to
make the metro area more diverse. They fear that if things
don't change, companies will not conduct business in
the state. Even the staunchly conservative
Oklahoman hired a reporter to cover diversity.
Yet in 2005 the fact remains that
"we've written it into our laws and our
state constitution that it's not acceptable to be
gay," says Josh Beasley, an openly gay 26-year-old
who lives in the capital. A wiry guy who could be
mistaken for a young Republican, Beasley moved back to
his home state three years ago from Denver. He is
constantly trying to explain to his Republican coworkers at
the nonprofit group Feed the Children why the
party's policies are hurting gay people.
Beasley is sitting for a dinnertime interview at
the Habana Inn, a gay resort that bills itself as the
largest of its kind in the Southwest. The inn is a
one-stop shop for gay men in search of a cheap room, a
strong drink, a hearty meal, a decent drag show, or
anonymous sex. During most waking hours, a mix of
luxury sedans, American-made cars, and dusty pickup
trucks pull into the parking lot for the main attraction:
cruising. They're all at the Habana to meet Mr.
Right--or at least Mr. Right Now, the locals say
with a laugh.
The weekend crowds blur into a haze of drinks
and cigarette smoke. For these men, the Habana is
their refuge. Inside the Western bar cowboys are
line-dancing in ass-tight Wranglers and felt hats. At the
cabaret bar the drag queens are stuffing tips in their
dresses. At the dance bar the twinks are removing
their shirts. A swirl of drag queens with teased hair
are selling shots, and hiply dressed lesbians play pool.
It's a haven that anyone who has lived in
the U.S. heartland would recognize: The place where
young and old, men and women, rich and poor all mingle
with the common goal of having fun in a place where
it's OK to be gay. But in many states, beyond
these outposts activists are bracing for conservative
lawmakers who want to flex their newfound might to
flood legislatures with antigay laws.
In Mississippi gay rights advocates say
they'll have a tougher time trying to add
hate-crimes protections that include sexual orientation to
the books--a dream they've spent a decade
trying to make into a reality. Republican lawmakers in
Tennessee and Kansas have vowed that they will pass
constitutional amendments to define marriage as a union
between a man and a woman. A majority of Democrats in each
state appears to support the antigay measures.
In Missouri gay activists expect that lawmakers
will try to institute new restrictions on adoption.
"It's hard to paint a rosy
picture," says Julie Brueggemann, executive director
of PROMO, a statewide gay rights group. "This
is the first time in 80 years that Missouri has openly
hostile legislators who are in charge of the house,
senate, and now the governorship. In the past we've
always had a governor that we could count on for a
veto in case something did get through the legislature."
In Oklahoma, Anne Magro and her partner, Heather
Finstuen, have seen firsthand how quickly lawmakers
can take away protections. The couple joined a lawsuit
by Lambda Legal to try to repeal Oklahoma's law
against adoptions by gays, which was signed into law May 4.
It outlaws adoptions by gay and lesbian parents from
out of state, even for those who've legally
cemented their adoption rights in other states.
Magro and Finstuen are not hard-bitten
activists; they simply want to protect their
6-year-old twin girls. The pair are sitting for a lunchtime
interview at an Indian buffet in a strip mall near the
highway in the college town of Norman, where they
live. Magro is an accounting professor at the
University of Oklahoma, Finstuen a second-year law student
who's getting a crash course in constitutional law
these days. It's a rare break from their busy
schedule as moms, what with sleepovers, play dates,
soccer practice, gymnastics, and Girl Scouts.
Although two other sets of couples are part of
the lawsuit, Magro and Finstuen are the public face.
They're the ones who have the exhausting
schedule of doing the media interviews, keeping full-time
jobs, and making time for the twins. (To protect the
twins' privacy, The Advocate agreed not
to print the girls' names.) The case may not be
resolved for years, yet "we felt that we had a
duty to do it," says Finstuen. "We have an
opportunity to take a stand and to make a difference
in a lot of people's lives."
Neither planned to become an Oklahoma activist.
They met as students at the University of Illinois in
1991 and by 1998 had careers in New Jersey, living in
the town of Maplewood, which bragged of its diversity in
advertisements that appeared in The New York Times.
Magro delivered twin girls that year; Finstuen went
through the second-parent adoption process in 2000.
That same year the University of Oklahoma called
with a job offer for Magro. "All we really knew
about Oklahoma is that it was really conservative and
in the Bible Belt," Finstuen says. Babies in tow,
the couple visited Oklahoma for the first time and saw their
stereotypes shattered. Norman seemed a welcoming
college town, more liberal than the state as a whole.
As a test, Magro and Finstuen walked through the aisles
of a Wal-Mart and acted as a couple, trying to gauge the
reaction from customers and salespeople. No one batted
Nevertheless, Finstuen says, "once you
have children, you have a much greater responsibility
in terms of what you expose your kids to." So
they scheduled meetings at local elementary schools.
"We had a pretty good reaction from the school
directors and the school principals," Magro
remembers. "One principal said to us,
'Your kids aren't even 2 years old yet, and
you're visiting us. You're exactly the
kind of family that we want in our school.' "
The couple moved to Oklahoma, where the twins
are now enrolled in a Montessori school. Life became
mundane. The girls were invited to birthday parties. A
conservative Baptist neighbor asked the women to watch
her daughter the day the neighbor went into labor. Other
children at school were asking the teacher why
they couldn't have two mommies.
Magro laughs when she tells the story of one
trip to Home Depot: "I had really short hair at
the time. There was this nice older lady who walked up
and said to my kid, 'Oh, isn't that sweet.
You're helping your daddy pick out the light
fixtures.' And my daughter was just like,
'I don't have a daddy. I have two
moms.' The woman just said 'Oh,' and
she turned around and walked away."
Then the adoption ban passed, stripping Finstuen
of her parental rights around Mother's Day.
"Clearly, I'm their mom, but it was just
the weirdest feeling that this could happen," she says.
Only five state senators voted against the
measure. Said James Williamson, Republican leader of
the Oklahoma senate: "A key component of the
radical homosexual agenda is to take away the right of
states to regulate and define adoptions, just as they are
trying to redefine marriage across the nation."
Williamson went on to shepherd through the legislature
a proposed constitutional amendment, defining marriage
as the union of one man and one woman, for the November ballot.
GLBT groups tried to fight back. They began a
million-dollar advertising campaign, arguing in one
USA Today ad that "studies show that
a state's level of tolerance for its gay and lesbian
citizens directly impacts its success in attracting
the talented people and creative atmosphere essential
for economic growth in today's competitive
marketplace." The amendment passed overwhelmingly on
November 2, and--perhaps a greater blow to the
state's fight for GLBT equality--the
Democrats lost control of the state house.
"Oklahoma's gay rights activists
were able to control the legislation for a long
time," says Richard Ogden, an openly gay
attorney who helped start the state's gay political
action committee in 1995. Mostly with the help of
Democrats, gay rights lobbyists were able to kill many
antigay bills behind closed doors in the legislature.
But they failed to heed the slow, methodical advancements by
the conservative right, Ogden says.
Ogden lives near the state capitol building with
his partner of six years in a gorgeous, sprawling
home. He was raised in a politically prominent family;
his father was majority leader of the Oklahoma house from
1959 to 1963--a time when many lawmakers in the
state supported the progressive policies of President
John F. Kennedy. Ogden had the connections to climb
the ladder and perhaps eventually run for governor,
but that meant he would have had to stay in the closet,
marry a woman, and raise a family. Instead, he came
out and took on an activist role.
Ogden dreams of heading up the Oklahoma Bar
Association or sitting on the state supreme court,
although he's not so sure what will happen in
the near future. "There is more than a glass ceiling
here. It's an iron room in which the state
places gays and lesbians," he says. "I
still know that nothing is impossible; I can climb out
the window and up the exterior wall to the next level
above me, but why should it be this way? I just want a fair shake."
Ogden has achieved a level of acceptance in
Oklahoma City. He and his partner, Mike Mclain, were
featured in The Oklahoman's coverage of
a 2004 homes tour--a hugely visible step that the
daily would have never allowed in the past. And he can
tick off a list of wealthy Oklahomans who raise large
amounts of money for AIDS programs. Yet he is still
too often stunned at the bigotry around him. In December,
Ogden and Mclain were watching the movie Alexander at
a local multiplex. As Alexander's lover,
Hephaistion, lay dying in one scene, Ogden remembers,
an audience member screamed, "Die, fag!"
That same month a local openly gay lawyer was
shot in a robbery in his home, a crime for which
police have charged four people with burglary,
robbery, kidnapping, and extortion. It doesn't appear
that that the criminals targeted their victim based on
his sexual orientation, but it still caused Ogden, a
well-known gay attorney himself, to wonder if he had
any reason to worry.
But moving out of state, he says, is not an
option. "I have family ties and political ties
here," he says, "although I can't
blame people who don't have those kinds of ties and leave."
Paula Schonauer is not leaving Oklahoma either,
although her life might be easier if she did. The
39-year-old activist--and the state's
only transgender police officer--is suing the Oklahoma
City police department for harassment. In the three years
since she has transitioned, harassment by coworkers
has only gotten worse, and the department is
"unable to foster a professional work
environment," she says.
With a teenage son and 6-year-old daughter in
town, "I don't want to leave my
children's lives," says Schonauer, who is
divorced from but still friends with the kids'
biological mother. "We're not totally
free here, not at all. It's not an ideal
situation, but I think that my kids are better off than
[they would be with] a heterosexual couple
who've gotten divorced and are at each
other's throats all the time. I think my kids are
going to grow up and be fine."
Schonauer meets up with The Advocate at
the Red Cup coffeehouse, perhaps the hippest place to
get a cup of joe in the Oklahoma City metro area. It
sits in the middle of a few blocks that make up the
city's Asian neighborhood--a fact
acknowledged by a small street sign on one end that
reads simply "Asian district".
Schonauer picked this rendezvous point because
she's comfortable here: As an Oklahoma City
police officer, she helped the department make inroads
into the Asian populace. She even learned some Vietnamese.
She gained the Asian residents' trust, and they
helped her solve homicides and other crimes. She
received an award from the U.S. Department of Justice.
At the Red Cup--which bears a sign on the
door proclaiming that the shop does not sell soft
drinks such as Coca-Cola because such companies are
global corporate monopolies--Schonauer and her
daughter, Joanna, each pull up a chair. Schonauer is
ever the doting parent, giving the girl money for a
cookie and finding her a magazine to read as the
interview stretches into an hour.
Raised most of her life in Oklahoma, Schonauer
graduated from Southwestern Oklahoma State University.
She married a woman from Norman in 1988. As
"Paul," she served in Operation Desert Storm
before joining the police force. "I would have these
points where I was wonderfully sure about my
masculinity and [thought], I can do this, and
later on I would be filled with such doubt," she
recalls. "It would be up and down and up and down."
She was always completely honest with her family
once she understood her need to transition, she says.
By 2000 she was either going to commit suicide or get
the operation, she says. Her son, age 10 at the time, told
her, "Dad, if you've got to change, change,
but don't leave my life."
Schonauer is a regular at her son's band
concerts and swim meets. "I've had a lot
of media here cover me, and people know me,"
she says. "I've apologized to my son if people
tease him because of me, and he just says, 'Eh,
don't worry about it. They'd probably
make fun of me for something else.' "
Schonauer understands. In 2000 she informed the
police department of her plans to have
sex-reassignment surgery. Her superiors were supportive,
telling local media at the time, "We wouldn't
treat this particular situation any different than we
would treat an officer going through a divorce or
another particularly emotionally stressful
time.... As long as Paula can perform the job,
we're gong to provide all the necessary
But her coworkers were less understanding once
Schonauer returned from Thailand in 2002, her
transition complete. The on-the-job harassment started
and never stopped. "There's a difference
between knowing and seeing," she says,
explaining why she was more comfortable before her
transition. In May, Schonauer was taken off patrol and
given an interim clerical role; she's now on paid
leave. "My career was going well," she
says. "Now it's been sidelined."
Jim Roth's career in Oklahoma could
easily have been sidelined because he's gay.
But in 2002 he was elected as a commissioner for
Oklahoma County. The race was long and bitter. He started
his campaign two years early because he knew that his
opponent would make his sexual orientation an issue.
He was right. "Every piece of literature my
opponent sent out talked about my sexuality," he
remembers. "It would have been a mail piece
about building new roads and bridges, but then there
would be a note about me being gay and that fact being
against Oklahoma's values."
His opponent attempted to build an impressive
voting bloc by appealing to networks of voters in
Baptist churches. Youth groups were recruited to go
door-to-door, making sure residents knew that Roth was gay
and that he'd received money from the Gay and
Lesbian Victory Fund, a group in Washington, D.C.,
that works to elect openly gay candidates across the country.
Roth stayed on message, talking about fiscal
discipline and the need for more infrastructure. He
won by 11 percentage points. "I generally think
that citizens care more about a straight road than they do
about a straight officeholder," he says.
"I think it's an insult to citizens to
think that their sexuality is an issue."
But Roth knows he will be a target of the far
right when he runs again in 2006. "I'll
become a prize to somebody out there who can't
run on their qualifications, so they need to find what they
think will be an easy target," he says.
In addition to fixing the local roads and
bridges, one of Roth's goals is to try to make
city and county officials understand that there are
economic consequences for not being welcoming to minorities.
He's a fan of Carnegie Mellon University professor
Richard Florida, whose research has linked
cities' cultural diversity to their rise as
economic powerhouses. Even Oklahoma City has taken note: In
2004 the chamber of commerce held a series of meetings
with various minority groups to see how they could
make the city more welcoming; they're now
discussion how to implement what they've learned.
One reason Roth ran for office to try and make a
difference was that an acquaintance, Chuck Mears, was
killed in a brutal hate crime in 1996. Mears, who
serviced the elevators at the county courthouse where Roth
worked, had brought two guys back to his house who then used
a knife to cut out his eyes before shooting him dead,
burning down his house, and stealing his pickup truck.
They were caught after one of the men bragged that he
had "rolled a fag."
The killers were eventually prosecuted in the
same courthouse where their victim had worked.
While Roth is proud of the local examples of
changed attitudes, the most recent election shows him
just how far Oklahoma's culture has to go.
"The dominance of this religious rhetoric
that's now become the political rhetoric has
really cast a chill on the state's
population," he says. "The faith environment
has really gotten away from the teachings of Jesus Christ,
which is, Love thy neighbor. Churches here seem to be
getting out of the business of feeding and clothing
people and putting their efforts into voter guides and
this idea that 'this person is worse than me.' "
Roth and his partner of eight years, who lives
in Dallas, have discussed marriage. They've
taken steps for legal protection of their estates, but
it still seems incomplete without a legal union.
"I live in a state that recognizes
common-law marriage--that means you can shack up
for six months and you can show to the world that you
are husband and wife," he says. "What is that?
It's not exactly covenant marriage that you
hear about in your local church. And I live in a state
that has one of the worst divorce rates. I want to
turn to people that are in the streets cheering for the
protection of marriage to ask them to please go outlaw divorce."
Faith cuts both ways in Oklahoma. The gay and
lesbian citizens go to church as well, and some hear
messages quite different from the antigay sermons at
the Baptist and Church of Christ behemoths that dominate the
landscape. One rainy Sunday morning, members are filing into
the Church of the Open Arms, which is affiliated with
the United Church of Christ--a world away from
the antigay Church of Christ.
One of the few gay-welcoming congregations in
the entire state, the church is packed to capacity
this day as the Reverend Kathy McCallie preaches about
the need for tolerance and diversity. It is the Sunday
after CBS and NBC refused to air a commercial by the United
Church of Christ that touted the church's proud
welcome to all worshippers and depicted gays and
others being turned away by bouncers in front of
another church. The congregation is outraged, and the church
will hold a press conference the next day, denouncing
the networks' argument that tolerance is too
controversial an idea under George W. Bush.
After the service there's a potluck in
the church basement. At one table sit Barbara York and
Von Green, a couple now for 42 years. They met in
Oklahoma City in July 1962 when a mutual friend set them up
on a date. The sparks flew "and we wanted to
research it further," says York with a laugh.
The couple never looked back. For years both were
physical education teachers, and they grew used to living
secret double lives.
"When we were young it was mostly against
the law to be gay. We were used to gay bashings and
getting fired. And then it got better--or at
least people ignored it, anyway," says York.
When the women were working for a private counseling firm in
the late 1970s, a boss learned of their relationship.
They were told to resign at once or they would be
fired. The women immediately left.
There's no doubt that their lives have
vastly improved since the 1960s. They've found
acceptance within their families. They're
setting up their estates to protect them when either one
dies. They've made sure that the hospital has a
record that they are partners so that they have
visitation rights. Their house is jointly owned.
Yet like so many GLBT residents of Oklahoma,
they are seeing the state regress, and they fear for
the future. "I think it's going to go
back to the way it was in the past," says York.
"I think we're going to have more gay
bashings and there are going to be bar raids.
They're going to start giving us a hard time because
it's popular [to do so]. People have a tendency to do
Other gay residents of Oklahoma City--such
as Gina Love, 38, and her partner of almost two years,
Kelly Fives, 39--remain hopeful about the
future. Love, an insurance agent, and Fives, an instructor
at the Federal Aviation Administration Academy, say
they have not experienced any discrimination.
"No one has said anything to us in our jobs,
and we're very out," Love says. "Kelly
has said that when she lived in California she had
people holler stuff at her. When she moved here she
was scared to be open about her sexuality."
What kinds of rights would Love and Fives like
to have? The guarantee that their estates are legally
protected. The right to make medical decisions for
each other if one becomes incapacitated. They'd also
like to marry, but they feel there would be no legal or
financial benefit to having a ceremony in
Massachusetts and then returning home to Oklahoma.
They hold out hope that those dreams will become a reality.
"As the whole country gets better, Oklahoma will get
better also," Love says. "It's
going to take time. Any time that there's a
civil rights movement, it takes time for things to
happen. It doesn't happen overnight."