Within a few weeks, we were planning our future together. We joke that we handled most of the hard stuff first: we sold two houses, bought and set up a home together, incorporated four cats and a dog into a family, and nursed and lost an ailing mother, all within the first year of our relationship.
Our love and commitment to each other was strengthened that year, confirming that we were right for each other. We took deliberate measures exchanging rings and drawing up wills and medical directives to demonstrate our commitment.
Last year, we joined as plaintiffs the lawsuit challenging Utah's laws barring same-sex couples from marriage. We had prepared ourselves for the long legal process, but couldn't have planned for the euphoria of Dec, 20 when the court struck down Utah's discriminatory laws and couples could immediately begin marrying.
Once we heard the astonishingly good news, we rushed like hundreds of other couples to the Salt Lake County Building with identification in hand to get our license to marry, knowing we wouldn't be turned away this time. We had tried once before and politely been refused, with the caveat to save the application because, "You never know."
And on that freezing Friday afternoon as we again nervously filled out the paperwork, the same clerk who had previously denied our application caught our eye. She beamed a huge smile and said, "I guess you didn't have to wait so long after all."
We exchanged vows in front of a minister we had never met, dozens of reporters and camera crews, and hundreds of teary cheering strangers. Amid the jubilant chaos, we looked into each other's eyes and knew we were exactly where we were meant to be.
We, of course, were making a commitment to love each other, and we knew we were promising to laugh and cry with each other and to help each other be our best selves. We were promising to provide support and comfort for one another regardless of how tough it got.
But more than that, we knew that our marriage, now legal in the eyes of the state of Utah, meant we said yes to all the magnitude and responsibility that marriage demands. We, of all people, now understood the weight of the word "marriage."
Laurie Wood and Kody Partridge are plaintiffs in Kitchen v Herbert challenging Utah's Amendment 3.