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Meet the Iowa Lesbians Finally Married After 72 Years

Meet the Iowa Lesbians Finally Married After 72 Years

Vivian Boyack and Nonie Dubes had been together as a couple, living together since the early 1940s, but in their seven decades together they had never told anyone they were a lesbian couple much less considered marriage. But, according to the Des Moines Register, that all changed when a friend—someone once opposed to same-sex marriage—came to the Iowa couple to tell them they had helped change his mind.

Mike Kilen writes that it was 73-year-old Jerry Yeast, who first met the women in college and remained friends. He realized they were a couple when he and his wife visited and noticed the couple shared a bed.

"My journey in accepting same-sex relationships was formed by these two women, so I thought I should thank them," he told Kilen. So he told that to the womem and it was their first time ever speaking about their relationship. "I was dumbstruck. I kind of blanked out, until I said, 'My gosh, this is Iowa! You should get married.'"

The couple, who met in 1942 at the Iowa State Teachers College (now known as the University of Northern Iowa), were afraid of making headlines, afraid of the attention. But after much encouragement, the two married after 72 years together. 

Rev. Linda Hunsaker presided over the wedding of Boyack, 91, and Dubes, 90, on Sept. 6 at First Christian Church, the first same-sex couple to wed in the church.

"It's Vivian and Nonie," Hunsaker told Des Moines Register of the decision to marry them. "They had been in the church since 1947. They had been deacons and in the choir. We thought of them as a couple. Nobody asked them, but you can't not know. In the church directory, they have their picture together. When you don't know somebody, it's easy to make statements about right and wrong. But when you know someone, have a relationship with them, which is what God wants, you want the best for them."

And, of course, after news broke the media and Twitter went crazy.  Kilen reports that the lesbian couple fielded interview requests from reporters as far away as Australia and Ireland, received congratulatory cards and flowers from strangers, and the women became proud spokewomen of the changing nature of the love that, for them, once dared not speak its name.
 
"I began to hear them addressing each other as 'sweetie' or 'dear' which they had never done before in public," Yeast told Kilen. "They had learned to live with their heads down so long. And now they don't have to live with their heads down."

 

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