STORIES: Brenda & Jennifer

Jennifer Waldron, left, and her spouse, Brenda Fite, walk their dog, Meggie, near their Cedar Falls home. (MATTHEW PUTNEY / Courier Photo Editor)

Our relationship began in 1999, after having met in graduate school and becoming best friends who fell in love. We moved to Iowa in 2003 when Jennifer accepted a job offer. That year was also a big year for us because we had a Commitment Ceremony, where we publicly announced our love for each other and sought the continued support of family and friends as we traversed the journey of life. At the time, a commitment ceremony was the best we could do to… the possibility of marriage was so remote. Who knew we would live in Iowa when the Supreme Court ruling helped us “become cooler than California.”

Prior to getting legally married May 24, 2009, we spent 10 years together having to define, constantly, our relationship to others. Although we didn’t need others to understand our relationship, it was tiring and exasperating work to defend and explain the love and loyalty we have. Additionally, words such as partner or significant other did not adequately express our commitment to each other or the depth of our relationship.

Within months of marrying, Brenda became pregnant, and we welcomed our sweet son into the world. Although we had hoped our marriage would allow Jennifer’s name to be on the birth certificate, this was not the case. We were extremely frustrated that parental rights were not associated with marital rights, especially because the Supreme Court ruling affirmed that same-sex marriage is in the best interest of children. We decided not to become a part of the lawsuit to fight this because we wanted the immediacy and security we could be granted via step-parent adoption. (Huge shout out to the Gartner v. Newton case!) In the end, we were thankful that marriage allowed us to go through a step-parent adoption, which was less arduous than a second-parent adoption. Our family birthday (the day of the adoption) was October 13, 2010.

It is hard to think of moving to another state because we would be giving up the security of marriage. How could anyone willingly accept that her marriage in one state is meaningless upon entering another state? So, marriage matters to us because of our love for one another and our desire to spend our lives together. Marriage matters because it is a shared ritual in our society. Marriage matters because of the security it gives to our family.

Brenda and Jennifer were also featured in the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier. Take a look!

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