(h/t ChinoBlanco and Dawn in Maine)
This is a beautiful love story, first covered by Kerry Eleveld on Advocate.com.
Kimmel and Schwizer have lived in Hancock, Maine, a town of approximately 2,500, since the 1980s, and have taken an active role in the community — serving on city planning boards and participating in church leadership (their local United Church of Christ congregation voted to become open and affirming of LGBT people two years ago).
“It’s a community that we have really become an integral part of since we moved up here,” Kimmel says, noting that Hancock, which leans conservative, has voted pro-LGBT on every one of the four nondiscrimination measures that has come before it since 1995.
“I suspect that’s partly because Ron and I are such a visible couple in this community, and everybody knows that gay people are just like everybody else and they deserve rights,” he says.
This week, Mainers got the privilege of meeting Doug and Ron as well via their televisions, as the couple celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary.
HANCOCK (NEWS CENTER) — To celebrate their forty years together as a couple, Ron Schwizer and Doug Kimmel gathered with friends and neighbors for a party.
But, Schwizer and Kimmel say the event is about more than their anniversary.
“I guess the main thing is the idea that same-sex couples have lived in Maine as committed couples,” Kimmel explained. “They contribute to the community and should be treated as equally as any couple. We should be allowed to celebrate that commitment with the word marriage.”
In June, the governor and the state legislature passed the state’s first marriage equality act. The law granted gay couples the right to marry in Maine.
“Getting the support, knowing we have the legal supports and rights even though they don’t apply to federal laws would make a difference,” Schwizer said. “I would have every intention of following through with a legal ceremony.”
An error; the law passed in May- but a minor quibble…
Marc Mutty of Stand for Marriage Maine had this to say:
When contacted by NEWS CENTER regarding Kimmel and Schwizer’s event, Mark Mutty, the executive chair of Stand For Marriage Maine applauded the couple for their longevity.
But he was quick to add that their marriage does not exist in Maine.
“Obviously it’s not true,” Mutty stated. “The law does not provide for it in the State of Maine. Come the people’s vote in November, that will be made crystal clear.”
Mutty pointed out that in the past the Catholic Diocese of Maine has lent its support to gay rights issues in Maine. He adds that this is an issue of protecting the true definition of marriage.
“Congratulations to them for being together for that long and being happy,” Mutty exclaimed. “We celebrate that for them. We just don’t see the correlation here. The point is two people can get along and have a relationship similar to marriage, but it lacks the basic characteristics of a true marriage.”