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California Couples Await Their Fate

013Thursday March 5th, 2009 is yet another day that will be etched in the minds and hearts of the 18,000 same sex couples who were married in California last year between June 16th and the passing of Proposition 8 on November 4th.

The couples and their supporters have endured a highly publicized and emotionally charged campaign against them, and on March 5th, 2009 the case to overturn Proposition 8 goes before the California Supreme Court in San Francisco. Many couples and supporters are making plans to attend the hearings in San Francisco on that day. Others around the world are standing by to see what happens. There has been a lot of talk and speculation about the standing of the marriages that were already performed, and whether they will be null and void when all is said and done. I met with one couple, Nancy and Kelly Legaspi-Ambroff, to see how they were feeling and coping until the hearings on Thursday.

After 18 years together, and with a set of 2 year old twins, they were just trying to make it through the day like everybody else.

That wasn’t to say the upcoming hearings weren’t on their minds, and the lesbian moms were able to give me some solid insights amidst making dinner and handling the twins. 043 They told me how they rushed to marry, and began to make plans as soon as they heard that gay marriage had been legalized on May 15th, which happened to be Nancy’s 43rd birthday. They had a sunset wedding on the beach on June 17th with their twins present during a standard ceremony with 22 of their family and friends. When Prop. 8 passed on November 4th it was unbelievable to this California couple, and souring to know that other states showed more support for equality than their home state did. Kelly said to me, “I don’t hate the people who donated to Prop 8. It’s just a shame that they wasted all that money when there are people losing their homes and jobs.” Many of the friends and family who were present at Nancy and Kelly’s wedding showed concern and expressed sadness when they found out that Prop 8 had passed, and they continue to show support for the couple and their children as they await the March 5th hearings.

Both lesbian moms believed Prop. 8 should have never been up for a vote in the first place, saying it was scary to them, and they believe it could lead to mass segregation of other minorities if upheld.

They told me of experiences they have had with health care benefits, and rights relating to their children, property and business. Ultimately, their main concern is the twins. Kelly says that when they got pregnant, she decided the line was drawn. She was going to stand up for equal rights no matter what, and eliminate negative and intolerant people from having contact with their kids. 025 She says that her children sense when others are hateful towards their family. She also says that she won’t spend any of her money in what she calls H8 states; the places shown on her map showing Yes on 8 donors. In the meantime they are protecting their children from intolerant people as much as possible, and trying to enjoy life. Kelly said to me, “Everyday is a brand new day for these babies and I’m not going to let the hate in.”

If Prop 8 is not overturned, Nancy says she would “say it figures.”

She said she is used to disappointment and it’s easier to be disappointed than to hate. Kelly says she has no expectations. She says “If we don’t fight for our rights, we won’t get them. We have to fight and we’ll see what happens.” If their marriage is nullified the couple agrees, they will simply become more vocal and more active in the fight for LGBT rights and marriage equality.

If Prop 8 is overturned, and their marriage is valid, Nancy says she’ll be flying a State of California flag in front of her house, and she’ll be proud to be a Californian.

She said she doesn’t need the paper; she needs the rights for her family.

Julie Phineas Julie Phineas is a work at home mom of 2 who lives in Southern California. You can find out more about her online by visiting her website at www.juliephineas.com.

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