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When these Venezuelan migrants couldn't afford to get married, their Denver community threw them a wedding

Amarilis and Mariangy Delgado Gutierrez
instagram @dorkdancingdenver

Nonprofit Dork Dancing hosted the wedding for Amarilis and Mariangy Delgado Gutierrez on Sunday, one year after they left Venezuela.

Two LGBTQ+ migrant women from Venezuela were finally able to get married over the weekend after a Denver nonprofit stepped up to host their wedding.

Amarilis and Mariangy Delgado Gutierrez began dating five years ago after knowing each other as family friends for the majority of their lives. Mariangy, who had two daughters from a previous relationship, left her boyfriend of the time to be with Amarilis, creating rifts between the women and their families, the couple recently shared with local outlet Westword.

With little social support and no right to marry, Amarilis and Mariangy decided to leave Venezuela one year ago, and set out for the United States. Their three month journey took them through the the Darién Gap, known as the most dangerous land route in the world for migrants, then through five different countries as the couple sold lollipops to fund their travel.

Amarilis and Mariangy crossed the U.S.-Mexico border into Texas, from where a border agent directed them to a shelter in Colorado. The two spent months since providing for their family, but as they struggled to afford food for themselves and their children, they were unable to justify the cost of a $30 marriage license.

That's when the local chapter of Dork Dancing, a mental health nonprofit, got involved. After executive director Susan Law heard the couple's story, the organization offered to pay for the license and host their wedding. Amarilis and Mariangy got married over the weekend at a local park, with dozens of community members turning out to show support.

Though they didn't have a rehearsal or official schedule, the intimate celebration featured the two performing a united sand ceremony, in which they poured one vial of black sand and one vial of white sand together into the same glass. Dork Dancing has also offered to sponsor their honeymoon, though it is keeping the details a surprise for the couple.

Amarilis and Mariangy are now trying to receive work permits while making sure their daughters, 9 and 13, "do well in school." They are also saving up to live with each other, as Mariangy and the children currently share a studio apartment, and Amarilis is staying with a host family.

Despite their difficult journey, the couple is thrilled to finally be married. They now want to encourage queer people in situations like theirs to not lose hope.

"The people here have supported us a lot. We've received a lot of help from a lot of people. We can get ahead and move forward little by little," Amarilis told the outlet. "We still have a long way to go, but we're coming along little by little until we get to a stable situation. ... Keep moving forward and never give up. There's no place where life is going to be completely easy."

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Ryan Adamczeski

Ryan is a staff writer at The Advocate, and a graduate of New York University Tisch's Department of Dramatic Writing, with a focus in television writing and comedy. She first became a published author at the age of 15 with her YA novel "Someone Else's Stars," and is now a member of GALECA, the LGBTQ+ society of entertainment critics. In her free time, Ryan likes watching New York Rangers hockey, listening to the Beach Boys, and practicing witchcraft.
Ryan is a staff writer at The Advocate, and a graduate of New York University Tisch's Department of Dramatic Writing, with a focus in television writing and comedy. She first became a published author at the age of 15 with her YA novel "Someone Else's Stars," and is now a member of GALECA, the LGBTQ+ society of entertainment critics. In her free time, Ryan likes watching New York Rangers hockey, listening to the Beach Boys, and practicing witchcraft.