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.”
“We are a real testament that opposites attract!” Linda joked. “But we really clicked over shared family values that are the foundation of our relationship. Both sets of our parents have been married to each other most of their lives, so we were both looking for something that modeled their relationships.” In a few short months, they knew their relationship was more serious than either had suspected. “We quickly knew we wanted to spend our lives together, here in Arizona,” Scarlett said. “Being with Linda always felt natural and right.”
In late 2009, Linda and Scarlett started planning the next stages of their lives together–a wedding! “Linda grew up in an Italian Catholic family with 4 sisters, grandparents, and many cousins!” Scarlett said. “I have a brother and a large extended family–so we knew our ceremony had to incorporate our families!”
On February 10, 2010 the couple wed in Phoenix, with an intimate backyard ceremony shared with their Pastor and close friends. The scene was set with candles floating in the pool, a personal chef to cook appetizers and dinner, and the whole backyard decorated.
“At the end of our pool deck, we had a table with sand from Texas, where Scarlett is from, and Sedona, which is a special place to me,” Linda said. “After we stated our vows, we walked to a table and poured our sand into an empty bottle. Every year on our anniversary, we tip the bottle up and down one time. The significance is over the years, the sand becomes integrated into one color, which over time we become more and more one.”
The couple has continued to live happy and in love in Phoenix ever since. “Seeing and wanting a lifelong relationship that lets you experience adventure, that allows you to help each other through all of life’s peaks and valleys– became the focal point of our commitment to one another,” Scarlett said. “We have such a supportive relationship, and we really grow with and challenge one another.”
Linda shared similar sentiments. “Having someone who you feel safe with, appreciated by, can trust with your vulnerabilities, and respectfully push each other for the better is exactly what we have found in each other,” Linda explained.
In Arizona, same-sex couples like Scarlett and Linda do not have the freedom to marry. Though they were wed in 2010, their Arizona wedding has no legal clout federally or within the state.
“The fact that our marriage is not legal or recognized in our home of Arizona is insulting, and trivializes our love and commitment to one another.” Linda said.
Scarlett and Linda decided to hold another ceremony, two years after their first wedding. They traveled to New York, where same-sex couples have the freedom to marry, on February 10, 2012–the day of their second anniversary are a married couple.
“Scarlett surprised me by picking me up at work and whisking me off to NYC. I had no idea. She had planned the whole thing with my friends and coworkers,” Linda said. “We were married in a gorgeous, historic courthouse. Everyone was so kind and welcoming. It was a truly special day.”
Despite their two ceremonies, they are still treated as legal strangers by the state of Arizona.
“I want to protect my wife and the life we’ve built together. I want to protect and provide for her when we become sick and require medical care. I want to ensure our wishes are carried out if something were to happen to either of us. And most of all, I want Arizona to understand that our love matters.” Scarlett said.
Thousands of loving same-sex couples like Linda and Scarlett are not protected or recognized as spouses by their home state of Arizona. It is time for Arizona to understand that all families matter and deserve to be treated equally. Arizonans know that freedom means freedom for everyone–and it’s time our law reflect that.
“Making the lifelong commitment to wed is as natural to us as to any other couple that seeks to marry the love of their life,” Linda said. “It is just not acceptable that Arizona does not understand this.”