From Emily: Stacy caught my eye at an audition for Jeopardy! in the spring of 2009, when she introduced herself as new graduate of my alma mater’s law school and a soon-to-be lawyer at one of my favorite DC-based nonprofit organizations. I chased her into an elevator and introduced myself as a member of the school’s alumni club board, then slipped her a note with my contact information so she could get in touch when she moved to town. However, in the course of taking the bar exam and moving halfway across the country, she lost the note.
Fate stepped in to give another chance, though. In early 2010, I was invited to LA to tape an episode of Jeopardy! When I arrived at the studio, Stacy was standing there, too – she’d also been chosen to tape that day. Jeopardy! tapes five shows a day, and they don’t announce the contestants for each show until just before taping starts. The first, second, and third episodes were called – neither of us were chosen, so we chatted during breaks in the taping. And then – we were both called for episode four. Half an hour later, Stacy was the new Jeopardy! champion and I was back in the audience watching her take on two new competitors. After we taped our show, we discussed having a joint viewing party when the episode aired that spring – and once again, I handed over my contact information. This time, she didn’t lose my card.
Following the party, we started hanging out more – berry picking, baseball games, and outdoor concerts. When Stacy showed up at my birthday party with a bouquet of sunflowers, I suspected that there might be more to the friendship, but being fairly shy I hesitated to make a move. A month later, Stacy asked me out – and I said yes.
Fast forward several months. The dating life was going well, we’d decided to move in together and were packing our respective apartments. I had a bad allergic reaction to a vaccine and ended up in urgent care two nights in a row. Stacy took excellent care of me, and the urgent care clinic never questioned her presence – and I realized that I wanted to make sure that she could always be there for me. A couple of days later, when Stacy came home from jiujitsu class, while she sat on the couch eating a bowl of pasta and still in her sweaty workout clothes, I asked her to be my domestic partner.
Although she said yes, she also noted that she’d been forming her own plan for proposing – which I told her she should keep a secret and still carry out. A couple of months later, in the middle of a big field of sunflowers, she asked me to be her wife. We planned a Jewish wedding (that also honored Emily’s Unitarian faith), signed our ketubah (plus a lot of advance directives – we honeymooned in state that doesn’t recognize same sex marriages and live next-door to another state that doesn’t), and celebrated with a large group of incredibly supportive family and friends. My boss was so excited about the wedding that she offered to do the bouquets and centerpieces (she’s not a professional florist – but you’d think she was), my grandmother sang a psalm, several of our friends read the seven blessings, Stacy’s grandfather performed Motzi, and during the Horah we were hoisted on chairs above the crowd. And since we happened to plan our wedding the same weekend as Pride, we headed downtown after the reception to celebrate with people at Pride Festival.
Although there are many political freedoms that we miss out on by living in Washington, DC (chief among them, representation in Congress), we feel incredibly lucky that we had the freedom to marry, that the District recognizes our union as legally valid. Just over the state line in Maryland, voters will be taking up the issue of marriage equality this November. In Virginia, there is little if any sign that marriage equality is on the agenda.