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We were married in Multnomah County, Oregon, in the brief window of time when same-sex marriages were legal. Our marriage was later erased from the books as if it had never happened. This album is similar to a book that we published and donated to the Oregon Historical Society's Gay and Lesbian Archives.

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  1. 1. April 4, 2004 Nancy Monahan and Deborah Needham
  2. 3. The Decision <ul><li>Deborah </li></ul><ul><li>Although we had been a couple for five and a half years, we had never had a ceremony to celebrate our commitment to one another. We knew we loved each other, and our community supported our relationship, and that was all we had ever asked for. But when real marriage suddenly became an option so close to home, my stomach began doing flip-flops. I hadn’t realized it was so important to me to until it was so possible. I knew right away that I wanted to marry Nancy. I have always known she was the person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. </li></ul><ul><li>Nancy </li></ul><ul><li>Marriage wasn’t on my agenda initially. I knew I loved Deb, and I didn’t think any kind of a ceremony would make any difference. Plus I had seen some bad examples of marriage in my family tree. But I knew that it meant something to Deb, so we went down to the Multnomah County building on St. Patrick’s day to get our marriage license. The paperwork hadn’t been updated to include couples of the same sex. We joked about who would be the bride and who would be the groom. There was no question in my mind. I signed as the groom. </li></ul>
  3. 4. The Ceremony <ul><li>We got married in the garden of Touchstone Coffee House. We met and fell in love at the original coffee house location in Northeast Portland. It seemed fitting to be married there. Our good friends and neighbors, Janey and Jon Gieber performed the ceremony. Janey is a licensed minister, and Jon a gifted Native American flutist. It was the first legal same-sex marriage ceremony that they had ever performed, so they were very excited to be a part of history. </li></ul>
  4. 5. <ul><li>We drove away in our car with “Just Married” written on the back windshield in whipping cream, trailing paper latte cups behind. It was only then that we realized we were starving . We’d had such a wonderful time visiting with friends before and after the ceremony that we had forgotten to eat! We spontaneously detoured to Starky’s where we had our first date over five years ago and enjoyed a full meal and a bottle of champagne in a little private celebration. A perfect finish to a perfect day. </li></ul>
  5. 7. The Marriage Test <ul><li>Nancy </li></ul><ul><li>Just twenty days after we got married, I was hit by a truck while in a crosswalk. I don’t remember much about the ambulance ride, but as soon as I was in the emergency room, even as confused as I was, I kept asking for Deborah. I knew someone had called her from the accident scene and I couldn’t understand why she wasn’t there with me yet. I was in so much pain, and I really thought I was going to die. With the broken bones and the head injury, I was unable to make them bring her to me. Even though they were done with all the most urgent medical tests, it was a really long time until they finally let me see her. </li></ul><ul><li>Deborah </li></ul><ul><li>I arrived at the hospital just minutes after the ambulance. The front desk staff did not seem to know or care about the Health Care Power of Attorney I was invoking even though I specifically told them I had important information about Nancy’s medical condition. Aside from the emotional distress that both of us experienced at the hospital because of being kept apart in a medical crisis, Nancy suffered needless physical pain and narrowly avoided a serious misdiagnosis because the hospital did not let me talk to her doctors sooner. It was a bitter reminder that we are still a long way from true marriage equality. </li></ul>
  6. 8. The Future <ul><li>Last year was both the best and the worst year of our life together. When you come so close to losing someone you love it makes you think about what really matters. Not only did we commit to sharing the rest of our lives together, but, as a result of the accident and the ensuing medical and insurance inequities we experienced, we also pledged to bring those inequities to an end by telling our story and actively fighting for marriage equality. 2004 was a really tough year for us, but it made us stronger and braver, and ready to face the civil rights challenges of the future. </li></ul>