AP interview: Couple reflects on gay marriage

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 25, 2013 at 8:57 am •  Published: March 25, 2013
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"It's such a weird road we've been on," Perry said.

All the more so because neither woman defined herself as a gay rights activist before the marriage fight.

Perry, a native Californian from Bakersfield, and Stier, who grew up in rural Iowa, moved in together in 2000, with Stier's two children from a heterosexual marriage and Perry's from a previous relationship. Utterly conventional school meetings, soccer games and band practice — not the court case — have defined their lives together.

As if to highlight this point, their son, Elliott, briefly interrupted the interview to ask for a pair of headphones. Perry said the boys find her useful for two basic reasons these days. "Do I have any headphones and do I have any money?" she said with a smile.

Perry has spent her professional life advocating on behalf of early childhood education. Stier works for the county government's public health department.

"When you've been out as long as I have been, 30 years, in order to feel OK every day and be optimistic and productive, you can't dwell as much on what's not working as maybe people think you do," Perry said.

Even with Proposition 8's passage, Perry and Stier said they were more focused on Obama's election.

"I was all about health care reform and Kris is all about education reform and that was everything. Gay rights, that would be great, but it's a way off," Stier said.

They don't take the issue so lightly anymore. Of course, they could not imagine a U.S. president would endorse gay marriage along with voters in three states just last November.

When Obama talked about equal rights for gay Americans in his inaugural speech in January, Perry said she felt as if "we've arrived at the adults' table. We're no longer at the kids' table."

They will watch the argument in their case and then return home to wait for the decision, worried that it could come the same day as the boys' high school graduations in mid-June.

They know the court could uphold Proposition 8, which would almost certainly lead to an effort to repeal it by California voters. Recent polls show support for repeal.

Any other outcome will allow them to get married. But Perry said they are hoping the court strikes "a tone of more inclusion" and issues the broadest possible ruling.

They will get married quickly, in a small, private ceremony. "We did the big celebration a long time ago," Perry said. "I hope this will be something a lot bigger than the two of us."

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Follow Mark Sherman at http://twitter.com/shermancourt



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