Meet Arizona Families: Lisa Malachowsky and Beverly Crair

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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.

“We don’t shy away from the hard stuff,” Lisa said. “We take what life gives us and work as a couple to make it better, with love.”

When Bev was transferred to Phoenix because of her job with Intel, Lisa didn’t hesitate to move with her. They have a home in Ahwatukee, where Lisa’s parents, who are aging and need assistance, live with them, as well as Bev’s daughter, who is finishing college at Arizona State University.

“Commitment to us, as a couple, is about listening and hearing each other, keeping at it until we understand each other and can create solutions that work for us both,” Bev said. “We’re constantly learning new things about each other. We do not assume that we know everything about each other.”

Lisa said that she and Bev are a “true couple.” But they know that people dismiss their commitment to one another because Arizona doesn’t recognize their union.

They had a large wedding ceremony on April 9th at the Heard Museum in Phoenix. It was the first time it had rained on that date in the Valley in over 90 years, but the wedding was beautiful none-the-less, in large part because of the supportive businesses who contributed to the event.

“It just seemed to me to be a natural statement about the quality of a relationship,” Bev said of their ceremony.

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Marriage is a public recognition of our obligation to each other, Lisa agreed.

“It matters to me because I don’t see my relationship with Bev as any different from the relationship of my mom and dad,” Lisa said. “I want everyone to honor our love. I want the state and federal governments to give us the same rights as my mom and dad.”

Lisa said she “despises” that their wedding day wasn’t recognized by the state of Arizona.

“I wish we were back in California,” Lisa said. “My sister, who is also gay, and her partner went to their friendly judge in California and got married easily. We can’t do that in Arizona, but in our eyes, we are married.”

Bev said that frustration is her overwhelming feeling about not being able to legally marry in Arizona.

“Part of that frustration comes in when I discover our friends do not understand that my family is penalized in many ways,” Bev said. “Many people just have no idea of the discrimination we face. When I describe having to pay additional taxes to cover my family’s health care, people immediately say, ‘Wait, that’s not fair.’ Or, often, ‘I didn’t know that.’”

“That’s why I think educating people about the freedom to marry is so important,” Bev said.

CLICK HERE to sign the pledge to help move marriage forward in Arizona.