Rural Oklahoma family featured in television ad supporting same-sex marriage

U.S., Army veteran Ed Cuyler says his lesbian daughter and her spouse are unfairly being denied benefits, as group supporting same-sex marriage sponsors a television ad framing the issue as one of equality.
by Chris Casteel Modified: May 5, 2014 at 1:12 am •  Published: May 5, 2014

After a long career in the U.S. Army and civil service, Ed Cuyler retired to a ranch near Fort Sill, where he has joined the battle for same-sex marriage.

It’s personal for Cuyler. His daughter, Deedra, was married to her partner, Amber, in 2011 in Massachusetts, the first state to legalize same-sex marriage. The couple live on the ranch with their three children.

The whole family will be seen in a television ad that begins running statewide Monday. Sponsored by Freedom Oklahoma and Freedom to Marry, the ad aims to make the people as recognizable as the rural landscape.

“We’re a normal family,” Deedra Cuyler said in an interview Sunday. “We work, we try to take care of our children.”

Ed Cuyler, who has been married to his wife, Robbie, for 36 years, fought in Vietnam and Cambodia; he spent 12 years on active duty and 22 years in the Army Reserves.

“I just don’t think you should be denied rights that all of us veterans fought for,” he said in an interview. It wasn’t fair, he said, that the laws regarding health benefits and estates and other matters that heterosexual couples take for granted don’t apply to same-sex couples in Oklahoma.

Asked if he would hold the same position if it weren’t for his daughter, Cuyler said, “I would think and I would hope I would be the same way.”

Under the state constitutional amendment adopted overwhelmingly in Oklahoma in 2004, the state does not recognize same-sex marriages from other states. Deedra, who has worked at the Goodyear tire plant in Lawton for nearly 24 years, said the law prevents her from adding Amber to her health insurance policy, though the kids are on it.

View the ad here

by Chris Casteel
Washington Bureau
Chris Casteel began working for The Oklahoman's Norman bureau in 1982 while a student at the University of Oklahoma. After covering the police beat, federal courts and the state Legislature in Oklahoma City, he moved to Washington in 1990, where...
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