Real Couples Real Weddings But Dean and Gary also had another, perhaps more vital reason for their change of plans. In their wedding program, the couple explained this personal heartfelt goal to their guests. “If one young man or young woman attending, who has been told by society, church, or even family that they are ‘less than,’ could come away from our ceremony with a hope for the future, a hope that includes love, companionship, and recognition that they too are of value, then we’ve been successful.” For these two men to choose to include the inspiration of others as a priority for their Wedding Day was not unexpected, as Gary and Dean are considered the North Iowa “Poster Boys” for same-gender relationships. “We have worked with One Iowa (an advocacy group dedicated to supporting full LGBT equality) since its formation,” Dean says. “...And also with Executive Director Brad Clark on the State’s Anti-Bullying legislative efforts.” Dean and Gary co-founded PFLAG-North Iowa, and Dean is president of the Iowa State PFLAG Council of Chapters and Chair of the Iowa Stonewall Democrats Caucus.
Happily Ever After Begins Here.
Dean and Gary’s History As part of their ceremony, Dean, a retired business executive, and Gary, a radiologist, made use of their 27-page written program in part to tell guests about their life together, including how they met when their careers took them individually to Chicago 6½ years before. Soon thereafter, Dean joined Gary in Mason City, Iowa, and the couple celebrated a Holy Union Ceremony at First Presbyterian Church on November 27, 2004 in front of almost 200 friends, family and community members. But to make their May 31st wedding truly inspirational, Dean and Gary also told the story of their lives before they met. “The story,” they detailed in their program, “of two boys who grew up in unfriendly times and sometimes hostile circumstances.” For Gary, those circumstances included growing up the sixth of eight children in a traditional Mormon household. He says that when he was old enough to realize he was
“different” and began to discuss his feelings and questions with church leaders, he was advised to pray, read scripture, and marry a “good woman,” and those awful feelings would go away. Likewise, Dean was raised in a conservative environment, a rural Indiana farm. In the wedding program he explained how in his youth he also had followed what society, church, and family dictated as the “recipe for happy living.” Both men married, had children, and established themselves in their respective churches and communities, but there were consequences, which they explained candidly in the program to their wedding guests. “The dissonance and heartache grew in the hearts of two men who were living what they considered ‘irrational roles’ - roles society created, had created for them. And all the while, they lived in fear, living false lives.” Both recall being obsessed with certain thoughts. “What if my family and church members found out who I really am?”
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