On Sunday, thousands of same-sex couples across the nation will celebrate their first Valentine’s Day as a married couple.
Prior to the Supreme Court’s decision in favor of nationwide marriage equality, brave plaintiff couples from all 50 states stood up, fought back against regressive laws and helped expand equal rights for all. They lived openly and honestly, sharing their stories of struggle and love with the nation, moving hearts and minds like never before.
This Valentine’s Day weekend, we recognize the couples and families who sacrificed their privacy and gave it their all to make marriage equality the law of the land.
HRC asked several of the plaintiffs in marriage equality cases across the country what this Valentine’s Day means to them. Below are their photos and thoughts.
The Yorksmith Family
Before our boys joined our lives we would celebrate Valentine's Day with cards, a small gift and a nice romantic dinner out at our favorite restaurant, The Melting Pot. For the last five years we've celebrated by doing special things with our boys. Dinner and cupcakes or popcorn and a movie with a fire in the fireplace.
This year, we will spend it in a similar fashion at home with our boys. We love thinking about all of the couples that will get married 2/14/16 in Ohio and Kentucky because love won on 6/26/15!
Below: Our family at the Supreme Court right after hearing the ruling.
Tim Love and Larry Ysunza-Love
We are one of the Supreme Court plaintiff couples who won our case on June 26 last year. We were named plaintiffs in Love v. Beshear, the case that has Kim Davis so upset as our case was around marriage licenses for same-sex couples in Kentucky. The best part is that our case was filed purely by circumstance on Valentine's Day 2014.
With the last name “Love,” most people think that was done on purpose. Absolutely not. To us it was a sign that someone was sending us a message.
We had to wait 35 years to be legally married but we stuck together because true life love stories never end. We were finally able to marry in our little historic 108 year old church on Larry's birthday the week of our 35th anniversary with all of our friends and family in attendance.
The Bourke De Leon Family
In our 33 years together, Valentine’s Day has always been low key. We have a home cooked meal and a heart shaped cake. When our kids were younger we would decorate our living room with lots of red and hearts!
This Valentine’s Day is the first that our marriage will be recognized in our home state of Kentucky! First time filing jointly for our state taxes! Most importantly marriage equality has brought us the ability to both be legal parents to our two children!
Our hearts are full this Valentine’s Day, full from the equal rights we won June 26, 2015.
Pictured below L-R: Isaiah Bourke De Leon, Greg Bourke, Bella Bourke De Leon, Michael De Leon
Kim and Tammy Franklin-Boyd
As our first Valentine’s Day recognized as a married couple, we are reminded that this is a day that represents Love. Tammy and I are proud to have been a part of the fight for OUR LOVE to be recognized. We wish everyone a wonderful Valentine’s Day and hope that each and every day is full of LOVE for you and yours.
David Michener and Family
This Valentine's Day will be just as lonely as the last two without my husband. As this is the first Valentine's Day after the Supreme Court ruling, our love goes out to the rest of the country.
The Talmas-Vitale Family
We are celebrating our 17th Valentine’s Day together. In years past we would have enjoyed a nice romantic dinner followed by a night on the town, but have since happily traded that in for a chicken nugget & pizza party dinner with our beloved son Cooper. We end our Valentine’s Day dinner with heart-shaped Cookies and Milk (Cookies - store bought of course).
Pictured below L-R: Rob, Joe & Cooper. Day before oral arguments (04/27/2015) in front of the Supreme Court.