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John & Tommy

For John and Tommy Fisher-Klein, February has always be a special month.

In 2008, it was the month that they started dating, after meeting at a performance of Hair that Tommy was in. John attended with some friends, who introduced the men after the show.

In 2009, it was the month that John gave Tommy a beautiful ring, a symbol for how much he cared about Tommy.

In 2010, it was the month that Tommy gave John a similar ring and asked, "Will you be mine forever?"

In 2011, it was the month that John proposed that he and Tommy formalize their plans with a ceremony in Wilmington, DE, where they live together.

And in 2012, on February 18, it was the month that they stood in front of their family members and friends during their civil union ceremony and declared their love and commitment for each other.

The ceremony granted John and Tommy a civil union, which affords them many of the protections and responsibilities of marriage. Since January 2012, same-sex couples in the state have been permitted to join together in civil union, thanks to a law signed by Gov. Jack Markell in May 2011.

John and Tommy both grew up in Delaware - in Millsboro and Wilmington, respectively - and it was important for both of them to see their home state approve some form of relationship respect for same-sex couples.

"It was a very emotional, super happy time," John explained about the civil union law victory. "Knowing that so many people fought so hard to pass that law didn't only mean that we would get the rights we cared about - it also meant that other people cared about us having those rights."

Now, just over a year after the civil union law took effect in the state, Equality Delaware is working to urge state legislators to take one final step toward the freedom to marry, which would provide couples like John and Tommy the full respect that their relationship deserves.

"It's important that couples in Delaware have marriage rights," John said. "So many people in the state are excited to reach that next step."

The couple knows that their relationship is built on many of the same principles and values that other couples' marriages are built on. During their ceremony in 2012, they included a hand-fasting tradition - where they wrapped different colored ribbons around their clasped hands - to represent some of those values. Red for strength and passion. Green for prosperity. Black for wisdom. White for peace. Blue for patience and devotion.

Their locations for the ceremony and reception were intimately connected to Delaware's culture and history. The ceremony took place at the historic Old Town Hall, one of the oldest original town hall in the United States, and the men hosted the reception at the Queen Theatre, a lavish, beautiful building that reflected the couple's passion for theatre.

Hosting the ceremony and reception in Delaware meant a lot to John and Tommy, and now, they look forward to the day when they'll be able to marry in Delaware, too.

"I never thought I'd be able to have an event like that with my family and friends there," Tommy said. "I never thought I'd be able to have a ceremony and stand with my partner and have these rights. I never thought I'd be able to say I have a husband. It's amazing to see how far our state has come from when I was a 12-year-old boy who never thought these things would be possible."

 

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