The Day I Married My Best Friend

by Carl Tripp and Richard Hayford

Ever since I was a little boy I've dreamed of standing in front of my family and friends committing myself to the one person I would spend the rest of my life with. But as for many of us, those plans took a detour when I discovered I was gay in high school.

I was not sure I would ever meet someone, let alone marry them. First of all because I grew up in a little town and the concept of homosexuality was not something people talked about, let alone accepted. So even if by some miracle I did meet someone, any kind of commitment ceremony or wedding would not have been possible.

Well, I moved to Edinboro to attend college and so the first obstacle in my way was removed. Second was, as we all know, the fact that gay marriage is not accepted by our country. For some reason its seen as the downfall of heterosexual family values, but don't get me started on that. Well, I finally met someone and we fell in love.

A little over a year ago I asked him to marry me, not really sure how anyone would feel about the idea, but not caring. It had taken me a long time to come to terms with who I was as a person and to finally meet someone I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. I wasn't about to let anything stop me from finally being happy.

We told our families that we were engaged and they have been nothing but supportive of that decision. Both our parents and family members have given us money to help pay for things and all planned on attending our ceremony. On June 10, 2006 my dream finally came true when Rich and I stood in front of family and friends at the Zone Dance Club and committed our lives to each other. There was no thought of whether or not the government agreed with what we were doing. It did not matter. What mattered was that we were in love. That's not to say that we do not want same-sex marriage legalized by our government, that is something we will fight for until the day it happens. But in the end, a piece of paper is not what said we were married, its what we felt in our hearts.

I just want to take a moment to thank the Zone Dance Club for everything it did to make our ceremony what it was. I can not even begin to describe everything they did to make sure that day was something we would always remember. So to Bob and Lou, Ernie, Jared, Scott, Michael, Joe and everyone else at the Zone, Rich and I say thank you. You made it a day we will cherish forever.

Richard Hayford (R) and Carl Tripp ()L).

Wedding photo by Nathan Maynard

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