As they stood together, hand in hand, Jack Smith started to make faces at his best friend.
He wasn't trying to make his partner laugh as much as he was trying to keep him from crying.
Smith, 75, and his partner, Dan John, 65, have been together for the past 45 years.
On Saturday, they pledged their love to each other in front of more than 100 people and said these words: “I give you these words for eternity, I love you, take me into your arms.”
“We never really cared about getting married,” Smith said. “But we love seeing all the others here in support of each other and in support of love.”
Smith and John were one of more than two dozen couples who participated in the Love is Love marriage equality rally on Saturday morning at the Myriad Gardens. The rally was the kickoff event for the 2013 Pride Festival.
Pastor Neill Spurgin of Expressions Church led the service, explaining all the ups and downs of marriage and how the best way to weather the roughest patches of a relationship is to be patient with each other.
“Remember today and remember your commitments to each other,” he told the crowd. “Don't let the hard times, the speed bumps, mess you up. It is you that makes the rest of us proud to be who they are.”
Smith and John were introduced through a mutual friend. Originally, John was supposed to be in town a few days to visit Smith on his way to California; he ended up never leaving.
“We are best friends,” Smith said. “If you're not friends, then it's not going to work with any relationship. We are just two guys with two poodles and we love each other.”
The two said it's really nice to see how far Oklahoma City has come in accepting the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
“Oklahoma City has opened their arms,” John said. “Pride used to be limited to 39th Street and now we are doing stuff downtown and everything is so much more open. Oklahoma City has come a long way.”
Becci Madden and Heather Maxwell couldn't keep their tears from falling as they said the pledge together. The two have been together for six years after they met at work.
Madden, who is originally from Oklahoma City, said she and Maxwell immediately clicked and she knew that she had found the person she wanted to be with forever.
“We want to stand up for what we believe and know that we deserve the same rights as everyone else,” she said. “People are listening, and people are coming out and speaking their feelings. There is growth across the state, everywhere it's growing.”