A Day to Love

Love it or hate it, Valentine’s Day is here. It’s that day of year when all you little lovebirds give and get roses and cards, chocolates and kisses.

And it’s that day for you single people to brood a little extra more than usual. (Um, you might consider volunteering tonight at Action Wisconsin. You never know what corner cupid hides behind.)

Today, I read that one legend contends Valentine was a priest in the third century in Rome. Apparently, Emperor Claudius II decided that the best soldiers were unmarried men, so he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine realized the injustice, and secretly performed marriages for young lovers. When Claudius found out, he ordered Valentine be put to death.

Reminds me a little of two years ago when gay and lesbian couples in California lined up in droves to be married. Of course, no one was put to death—though the marriage licenses issued to the couples didn’t live long.

Here in Wisconsin, no gay or lesbian couple can legally tie the knot today, but there are plenty celebrating their love. Plenty. Maybe you’re even lucky enough to be one of them.

Our Story Collection Project features a few from different regions of the state. Most recently added to the project are two couples from the southeast region. Melody and Karen from Milwaukee have been in a loving, committed relationship for almost 23 years; and Bill and Phil from Kenosha, have been together for nearly 17 years. Both couples have managed to stay together during difficult and even tragic times, as Phil is a survivor of an accident that left him paralyzed from the waist down.

These couples, and others throughout the state, inspire me both at work and in my daily life. I'm moved by the many gay and lesbian families who are denied the important legal protections, rights, and responsibilities of marriage, yet stay together through thick, thin, and the rest of it, on Valentine's Day and every day.

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