Louise Young and Vivienne Armstrong’s 43-year relationship has been recognized incrementally.
In 1993, they traveled to Austin to register in Travis County’s Registry of Domestic Partnerships.
After Vermont offered the country’s first civil unions in 2000, they became the first Texas couple to travel to New England to become civilly united. Young applied for a transfer to her company’s Boston office, but the couple lived in Southeast Vermont and Young commuted for a year before returning to Texas.
During a six-month window in 2008 while marriage was legal in California, Young and Armstrong traveled to the west coast for a wedding. Judge Orlando Garcia’s Feb. 26 ruling in San Antonio throwing out the Texas marriage ban is the first step before their relationship is recognized at home.
As long-time Texans, both women said there was something extra sweet about a Texas judge overturning the marriage ban and affirming their relationship.
“It’s nice to hear someone say our marriage is valid,” Armstrong said.
Young wondered how many states will have similar rulings before the U.S. Supreme Court makes a final marriage-equality decision.
“I’m thinking the Supreme Court is not wanting to take it up again next term,” Young said. “In the South and other red states, rulings like this are going to force the Supreme Court to act.”
She said without a nationwide decision, the country was headed for a crazy-quilt, patchwork of laws relating to one of the most important legal institutions.
“It’s difficult from a business point of view to have this disparity between states,” Young said.
Armstrong said marriage has to do with rights and responsibilities — property, insurance, inheritance.
Young said she and Armstrong will celebrate the court decision by attending their friends Jack Evans and George Harris’ wedding. That couple, together 53 years, will be married by retired Methodist minister Bill McElvaney in defiance of a church ban on same-sex weddings.
Because of the Methodist Church ban on same-sex weddings, the ceremony will take place at neighboring Midway Hills Christian Church but he reception will be at the church the couple has attended for more than 20 years, Northaven United Methodist Church.
Northaven pastor Eric Folkerth called it the happiest event in his church in years.
Young and Armstrong agreed.
“This is just a joyous day,” Young said.