Stories: We can’t put our families at risk

by Jennifer Carmony (February 2011)
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Carmony75Both Katie and I were raised without the freedom to marry really being an option. I am from Bettendorf and was raised Catholic; my wife Katie’s family is conservative Christian from Texas. Although homosexuality wasn’t openly shunned in either of our families, it definitely wasn’t ever accepted.

Once we were both “out” and fell in love, we decided marriage was an important rite of passage for us. People in opposite-sex relationships often don’t understand what a big deal it is to be able to marry the person you’ve committed the rest of your life to, because it’s a luxury they take for granted.

We grew up knowing and understanding marriage – with all the commitment and responsibility it brings – and we believe marriage is the best way to show our commitment and love for each other.

Katie and I have two children, Carson, 4, and Gabriel, 2, and it’s important to us that our children are raised knowing they are in a loving family. We want them to know there’s nothing wrong or different about them OR our family.

We live in Phoenix now, but I was so proud to be able to return to my hometown in October to marry Katie. My roots are here: I graduated from Assumption High School, was Miss Iowa Teen USA, and now I married the love of my life here.

Marriage equality has put Iowa on the forefront of gay rights. This makes some people uncomfortable or even hostile, so much so that there is now a proposed amendment to vote on marriages like mine and Katie’s.

Because we don’t live in Iowa, Katie and I are all too aware of what happens to same-sex couples in states where our relationships aren’t recognized: Our families are unprotected in emergencies, and we aren’t treated with the same respect as opposite sex couples.

I am so proud of my home state for recognizing marriage equality, and know we can’t afford to take any steps backward, or we put all our families at risk.


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