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Real Couples Real Weddings be,” they concluded at the time. “It couldn’t work.” Gary lived in Iowa; Dean lived in Ohio, but most importantly, they believed that all they’d worked for – jobs, families, community standing - would be sacrificed for what they felt was “an insane proposition.” There was no logic! There was no common sense!

In their Wedding Program, Dean and Gary candidly shared the story of their chance meeting, the challenges faced in coming out & the joy of their new life together. Photos: Matthew H. Smith

In their wedding program, the couple further explained, “It took many years before we could realize we are indeed beautiful, and that God means for us to be happy.” That day arrived, unexpectedly, in 2002. “It was destined. Our souls had to fly, and that flight began on December 2, 2002 when we met in Chicago and fell in love.” But the doubts remained. “Let’s give it a year,” Dean recalls saying. “If we still feel the same, we can make arrangements to merge our lives.” However, it was only three weeks later that he proposed to Gary. “Will you marry me?” he asked. The couple then faced a whirling mix of thoughts and emotions as they considered their prospective future together. “It couldn’t

Photos provided courtesy of: Matthew H. Smith 701.320.1599

But there was love, and Gary answered Dean’s proposal in just five words: “Dear Dean. Yes. Love, Gary.” However, the fears continued. “We had difficulty shedding the years of conditioned self-loathing and shame that accompanied our situation,” the couple acknowledged in their wedding program. They felt as if they should retreat to a “safe” place, somewhere larger than Mason City, and bought a house in Cincinnati. “Cincinnati was a big enough city that we felt we could become anonymous,” they explained, “and live our lives quietly, giving us a chance to adjust to the concept of being a gay couple in straight America.”

But those plans, like their eventual May wedding plans, were transformed by friends. When Gary gave his medical partners notice with little explanation, one of them took him aside and asked, “Why do you have to move?” Gary’s many excuses didn’t work and he recalls, “Finally, I simply came out with the truth.” Then he told all his partners about Dean, and each one had the same response: “If you think it matters, it doesn’t, so please don’t move away.” After eventually telling others too, the couple was still concerned. “We were reeling from the immediate psychological trauma of coming out to families, friends, churches, and our communities,” they explained to their wedding guests. “We felt the loneliness and isolation that comes with internalizing all the negative opinions of society. The trauma was real. Wives and children were no longer a part of our daily lives. Excommunication and expulsion from lifelong church affiliations had just been endured.” In addition, they were facing what they believed would be the town’s potential negative reaction to a gay couple ●● cont’d living in its midst.

Vol. 4 Issue 2 Summer/Autumn 2009 9

Volume 4, Issue 2 (Summer/Autumn 2009)  

Heartland in Gay America

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