“If I could marry you, I would ask you right now,” Joe Connolly said from across the table to Terry Pochert. The two men exchanged onion rings at that very moment, a silly gesture that meant much more. Despite how much they loved each other, it was 1995, and the thought of same-sex couples having the freedom to marry was a distant dream. Instead, Terry and Joe made a promise to one another that they would live their lives together in love.
This year’s holiday festivities will be especially meaningful for Jeremy and Nick, an Arizona couple engaged to be married next year.“Nick’s mother is very religious and politically conservative,” Jeremy said. “It took her a while to accept our relationship and love for each other. But this year she did something that made me realize she’s fully accepted me as a part of her family.”
Gerardo and Paul have been together since 1995, when they met on AOL during the early days of Internet matchmaking. They met while they were both living in New Jersey but have been together in Phoenix since 1996. They married in the state of New York two years ago.
Lisa and Bev were introduced by a mutual friend about 18 years ago, when they were both living in greater Silicon Valley and working in high tech. They have been a couple for about five years and during that time have overcome challenges that many married couples encounter.
Maria and Amanda reside in Sierra Vista, Arizona, with their 11 year old son, Daniel. After meeting years ago while playing in a soccer league, Maria and Amanda quickly fell in love. “We have so much fun with each other. We are constantly picking on each other, laughing together, and being two feisty, stubborn, women with strong personalities!” Maria said.
Sue Wieger and Sheila Kloefkorn were content with their busy lives when they met on a South Mountain hike in January of 2011.
Sheila shared, “When we met it was like we’d known each other for a long time. We had an instant chemistry. We shared friends and lived and hiked frequently on two sides of the same mountain but we hadn’t met.” The connection was powerful and it grew quickly. Sharing perspectives about life, relationships, business and their futures, the relationship grew.
Scarlett Spring and Linda Buscemi met enjoying a shared favorite pastime at a Cardinals’ football game. “My company had tickets, and Linda was invited by my HR Director,” Scarlett said. “It was the fall of 2008, and immediately I knew that she was someone exceptional.”
Gerald Bohulano and Alec Thomson have an age-old tale of blossoming romance -- one that started at college. The two met at Arizona State University in 2007, where they were both leaders in the Student Government Association. As the two began seeing a lot of each other at functions, they knew something was developing between them.
When Tony Moya walked into Meryvn’s Department Store to pick up his final paycheck 19 years ago, he didn’t to meet the love of his life. Santiago “Jimmy” Serna had just moved to Phoenix, AZ, from Texas and was also working at the store. Tony had already quit, and that chance meeting brought the two men together.
Nelda Majors and Karen Bailey met like many couples have, during their early years of college. "Nelda was a sophomore and I was a freshmen at Sam Houston University when we first met." Karen said, "We lived in the same dorm, on the same floor!" It was the fall of 1957, and the two women became fast friends.