Meet Arizona Families: Gerald and Alec

Why Marriage Matters Arizona is working to build support for the freedom to marry across the state. In the coming weeks and months, we’ll tell the stories of same-sex couples who are living in Arizona, building families in Arizona — but still treated as legal strangers. Read Gerald and Alec’s story below and click here to see more stories of families around the state. And if you want to share your story, you can here.

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.

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“He likes to say that he knew I liked him as soon as I walked in the room for orientation.” Alec joked, “But it was definitely the other way around!”

After months of getting to know each other, Gerald asked Alec out on a dinner date. “I knew Gerald was coming from a Student Government function, and when the event ran late, I was afraid he wasn’t going to show,” Alec said.

Gerald surprised a worried Alec at his dorm room door in a suit and tie, with roses in tow. Even though they were too late to dine at most restaurants, the pair decided to share their first date over diner food at the local Denny’s. “We always joke about the fact that our first date was a Denny’s — especially as we are quite the ‘foodies’ now.” Alec said, “But that meal with Gerald was so special.”

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From that meal on, the pair became fast sweethearts.

Many years later, they are still living happily in their home state of Arizona.  “Alec and I have a really special relationship. We are unified, yet equally independent.” Gerald explained, “We are best friends and so in love.”

Though the couple has a shared interest in exploring local restaurants to discover the best new dish, they find the most exciting part of their relationship their unique hobbies. “Gerald loves sports! If he isn’t playing tennis, he’s watching a football game. If he isn’t watching a game, he is training for his next one!” Alec said, “I, on the other hand, let politics take up all my time.” Coming together to reflect on their days is something Gerald and Alec says keeps their relationship strong.

“Since we are both very engaged with our separate interests and careers, coming together over a nice meal is such a special thing,” Gerald said. “It definitely keeps us connected.”

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The couple shares a similar upbringing, which helps them see eye-to-eye. “We both grew up out and proud,” Alec said, “Our families accepted us even though we grew up in small-town Arizona and in the Catholic Church.” Both men also had gay family members who were out, which set the foundation for acceptance across generations.

“My parents never treated me like being gay was wrong. They have always supported me, encouraged me to be the best man I can be, and to love who I want freely,” Gerald said. Even though their family is excited for their future wedding, the state of Arizona does not allow same-sex couples like Gerald and Alec to marry.

Despite their  love and commitment, Gerald and Alec are halted from moving forward in their lives together. “I know I want to be with Gerald forever — I have always know that,” Alec said. “I know that day will come that we can marry in Arizona, but I hope it is sooner rather than later.”

Since same-sex couples are treated as legal strangers in Arizona, Gerald and Alec are often fearful for the future, based on the lack of protections they have as a couple in Arizona. “I want to make sure that Alec is protected if something were to happen to me. I want our relationship to be recognized by our government so that we can expand our family with a certainty that we will be safe in our home of Arizona,” Gerald said.

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The couple knows that they can seek marriage outside of their home state, but they have decided to wait.

“I know that it will take people like us to stay in Arizona in order for change to happen,” Alec said. “I want to be part of the joyous moment that will occur when I can marry my love in Arizona — where we were born, where our families live, and where we fell in love. I want my home state to be the best place I know it can be. And that will start by moving marriage forward for all loving couples.”

CLICK HERE to see what you can do to support marriage for same-sex couples in Arizona.