There weren't any "bells and whistles" when Barbara (in white) and Debbie met at a bowling alley in Woodbridge, VA, in April 2004. In fact, Barb was still in the closet at the time. They started out as just friends, discussing their unhappy marriages and their children, who they "love tremendously." Deb began to have feelings first, but as their friendship grew into love, they both realized that they had found their soul mate.
Deb and Barb say their friends see them as the poster children for a happy lesbian couple and that friends have told them seeing them together gives them hope for someday finding true love. But as for their proposal, "I wish I could say that they had this romantic proposal story, but that is not the case," Deb tells us. They both knew that they wanted to spend their lives together from the very beginning but didn't want to go the civil union route. When the Supreme Court ruled the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional last year, Barb and Deb decided it was time to get married. "We looked at each other and said, 'Let's do this.'" They added:
"Marriage is more than a piece of paper or the process to have children legally. It signifies the commitment that two people share and the ultimate bond. God does not make mistakes and he certainly did not make a mistake when he put us together. We were both looking for someone to love and care for and have that person love and care for them as well. What better way to show it."
Deb and Barb described the day of their intimate wedding, which took place at San Francisco City Hall, as "busy and surreal." With just the judge and their children — who traveled from Virginia, California, and Fiji — and significant others in attendance, they described the moment when it all became real. They told us: "As we faced the judge the reality set in that we were truly getting married — something that we never thought could happen in our lifetime." When they turned to face each other, they saw a group of tourists had gathered to witness and photograph the ceremony, causing them to laugh and tear up.
But the highlight of the big day? Bowling, of course. Since they met in a bowling alley, it only seemed right to cap off their day bowling. "It was fun to see some folks doing what they love and others being able to do things out of their comfort zone. We all laughed and enjoyed each other's company. It was the best time we ever had bowling."
Photo by Grace Hitchcock