Bob Page, 70, never thought he'd live to see marriage equality in his home state of North Carolina; let alone get married himself.
"This is a day I dreamed about," Bob said of his recent wedding to longtime partner Dale Fredriksen. "The reason I've spent years fighting for equal rights is so people like me -- and families like our family -- could have the same freedoms and protections as every other person or family."
Bob is chairman and CEO of Replacements Ltd., the world's largest retailer of old and new china, crystal, silver and collectibles. In his role as CEO of the company he helped push for the defeat of North Carolina's Amendment One, the state's marriage ban that was found unconstitutional last October. Last month Replacements jumped to the forefront once again to join 378 other companies in filing an amicus brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down other state laws banning same-sex marriages and affirm the right of all couples to marry nationwide. The court will rule in June.
Dale, 52, is senior vice president and chief product officer of Replacements.
The two were officially wed March 26 in a private ceremony that took place at Replacements, officiated by the Rev. Dr. Chris East. The couple's 15-year-old twin sons, Owen and Ryan, were there to witness their fathers tie the knot. The family lives in Greensboro.
Bob and Dale first met March 25, 1989, and it wasn't too long after when Bob knew he'd found the one. "I think for me personally, that in the first few weeks after we met, I realized that Dale was someone very special and that he was the type of person that I would want to be with because we share the same values," he says.
Neither of them expected what would happen 26 years after their first meeting. "For years and years of us being together there was little chance that two men would be able to get married," Dale says. "When marriages started happening around the country, I knew that Bob would be the one that I would marry."
"Neither of us actually proposed," Bob admits. "We both just assumed that we would get married after it was legalized in North Carolina. It was my idea that we get married on March 25 since that was our 26th anniversary."
On their wedding day, the two celebrated with their immediate family. "Our ceremony was very informal with just a handful of people," Bob shares. "It was very casual and we both wore jeans. For us it was more of a formality than anything else. The thing that our marriage represents for us is the fact that we can now pursue a second-parent adoption so that our twin boys will have two legal parents here in the state of North Carolina."
Bob adds, "After all this time together, only now is it possible for both of us to be legal parents to our sons. Denying anyone a loving parent isn't right for children or families, and I'm glad to have played a part in righting this wrong. And I plan to keep working at it, because there's still plenty of wrong out there."