Monday, June 16, 2008

Marriage Equality is Golden

Today at 5:01 p.m. PST, my beloved California will begin allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry and so another Gold Rush begins. Loving, committed couples will begin flocking to The Golden State bringing their rings of gold as well as the gold of an economic boost for the state hosting the weddings.

Meet my friends Bill Voetberg (left) and Tim Straayer (right). They will be celebrating their love and commitment to each other by marrying in California later this summer.

Bill, retired from AT&T, serves the City of Grand Rapids on the Community Relations Commission. Tim is a book editor. Both Tim and Bill are very active in the Grand Rapids Front Runners & Walkers. Additionally, Bill volunteers for Triangle Foundation.

I first met Bill about a year and half ago when he wrote a brilliant article for the Network News on current legislation impacting the LGBT community. After I read the article, I thought, "I have got to meet this guy!" We had lunch and have been friends since. Tim and Bill are downright good people -- smart, compassionate, insightful and a lot of fun. I'm so grateful to know them!

Bill was in a relationship with his partner Harold for over 31 years and cared for Harold until his death six years ago. Harold's family expressed their gratitude to Bill for this care taking and recognized that, without Bill, Harold would have had to have gone into a facility of some kind during his final days. Bill took responsibility for Harold's care because they were a loving, committed couple. After Harold's passing, Bill was unsure he would ever find love again. Enter Tim.

Tim came out later in life and soon thereafter met Bill. The rest is history. Bill and Tim have now been together for three years.

The first time I met Tim, I told him that I thought Bill was amazing -- "I'm kinda crushin' on Bill actually," I said. Tim replied, "Me too!" with a smile that lit up the room! I love these guys and I am so happy that they can express the love they feel and the responsibility they want to take for each other by making a commitment in marriage.
(Did I mention this is taking place in CALIFORNIA!?)

So CONGRATULATIONS to two wonderful men! Stay tuned to my blog as I follow Bill and Tim's journey down the aisle.

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At June 17, 2008 at 10:39 AM , Blogger Georgia said...

Congratulations Tim and Bill! Thank you Colette for posting this wonderful story.


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