“After 17 years together, we both feel so lucky to have found one another,” Gail said. “We are both amazed that we can’t think of anyone else that we enjoy spending time with more than each other.”
Angela, 60, is a clinical psychologist and professor at Arcadia University, and Gail, 55, is a filmmaker and visual artist who graduated from Temple University’s Film and Media Arts Program. They practice Buddhism and meditation together.
Although Angela and Gail are registered domestic partners in Philadelphia, they eagerly await the day they are recognized as a married couple in the state they call home. “We love each other, and want the chance to stand up and have our family and community witness us make the fullest commitment two people can make to one another,” Angela said. “As we get older, we also need the security and protections that come with marriage.”
Gail and Angela have laid roots in Philadelphia, and bought their house together 15 years ago. It was a fixer-upper, and they both invested money and time to renovating the property. Because they cannot marry in Pennsylvania, when one of them passes away, the other one will have to pay inheritance tax on the home they built together. “It is a difficult weight to carry, knowing the life we have built together is not protected here in Pennsylvania,” Gail said. “We just want to know that the other will be cared for.”
Angela and Gail were recently married in Washington D.C. on November 18, 2013. Despite their legal marriage and nearly two decades of love and commitment, Gail and Angela are not treated as spouses in their home state of Pennsylvania. Like thousands of same-sex couples, they’re treated as legal strangers.
It is time for Pennsylvania to move marriage forward for all loving and committed couples. With momentum building across the country, Pennsylvania remains the only eastern state that does not offer the freedom to marry. But together, we can move marriage forward — and soon, ensure that Pennsylvania is a state where no family is denied the protections and security they deserve.